Japan Through Food

If we are what we eat, we should be able to extrapolate a lot about a culture from its cuisine. Such is the idea behind Asian Foodprints 2010, the international conference focusing on Japanese food and beverages, to be held March 5 by the University of Toronto’s Asian Institute.

This event, the second of its kind after the successful conference last year centring on Chinese cuisine, “looks to explore the connections and tensions between enduring ‘local cultures in an ever more transnational world,” says Dr. Joseph Wong, Director of the Asian Institute.

The conference marries the popular with the academic, with panel discussions on such topics as: Food and Social Identity; Japanese Food Culture in Practice; and Food Politics and Economy. Participants will include scholars and critics coming from as far away as Tokyo and Bonn, Germany, as well as local academics, food vendors and chefs. Among the highlights of the conference will be a demonstration held by Mina Makimine, the personal chef to the Consul-General of Japan in Toronto.

Chef Makimine will also prepare the desserts for the banquet immediately following the conference. On hand to serve sushi before dinner will be celebrated Toronto chef Hiro Yoshida of Hiro Sushi. The appetizer and main courses will be prepared by Shigeo Kimura, owner chef of Ginko restaurant, and President of the Japanese Restaurant Association of Canada. A tasting of sake, Japanese rice wine, will accompany the appetizers.

Asian Foodprints 2010 will be held at the Munk Centre for International Studies, and will be opened by Senator Vivienne Poy as an Asian Heritage Month event. The conference is co-sponsored by the Consulate-General of Japan and the Japan Foundation. For further information, please visit www.utoronto.ca/ai/asianfoodprints

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