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26 Feb 2010

Québec-Japan culinary exchanges

Left to right: Delegate General Suzanne Éthier, AJCA President Hisatoshi Utsunomiya and ITHQ Executive Director Lucille Daoust. Photo: Pierre Beauchemin, ITHQ

Under an agreement signed in Montréal by the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) and the All Japan Chefs Association (AJCA), apprentice chefs from Québec will be able to take part in internships in Japan and their Japanese counterparts will have a chance to participate in internships in Québec.

The memorandum of understanding was signed on February 24 by ITHQ Executive Director Lucille Daoust and AJCA President Hisatoshi Utsunomiya, who was accompanied on his trip to Québec by the AJCA’s Director of International Relations, Aiko Obayashi. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Japan’s Consul General in Montréal, Hiroaki Isobe, and Québec’s Delegate General in Tokyo, Suzanne Éthier.

By virtue of the agreement, the ITHQ will welcome the annual winners of the Nestlé Toque d’Or Japan cooking competition. It will provide them with accommodation and enter them in the cooking program that corresponds the most closely to their profile. The winners will profit from their stay by taking part in an internship in a top-class Montréal hotel or restaurant. They will also give a workshop on Japanese cuisine for ITHQ students and professors.

In return, the All Japan Chefs Association will welcome ITHQ students in Japan, as well as cooking professors, who will have a chance to take part in exchanges between the ITHQ and Japanese hotel schools. The ITHQ will also be able to use the AJCA’s network of contacts to inform people about its study programs. On top of all this, the ITHQ plans to hold a Québec cuisine theme week at an AJCA member establishment, with support from the AJCA and the collaboration of the Québec government office in Tokyo.

Delegate General Suzanne Éthier paved the way to the establishment of a formal link between the ITHQ and its Japanese partner. At her request, in 2008, the ITHQ welcomed and supervised the stay of Takako Terachi, winner of the Nestlé Toque d’Or Japan cooking competition, sponsored by the AJCA. The initiative was repeated in 2009, and both parties found the results highly positive. The recent agreement makes the practice official, by creating a program of exchanges between the two organizations. As pointed out by the ITHQ Executive Director, the agreement diversifies internship possibilities for apprentice chefs in Québec, who generally head for France and Italy.

Founded in 1959, the All Japan Chefs Association groups together some 25,000 chefs, hotels and restaurants across Japan.

Québec government office in Tokyo
Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec
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