WINNERS of a Japanese cooking competition visited a Loch beef farm as part of their prize last week.
The four of up and coming chefs, and one sommelier, visited the O’Connor beef farm just outside of Loch where they could see firsthand how Australian beef was produced.
They were the winners of the Taste of Australia Menu Competition, which saw 42 restaurants throughout Japan create innovative menus using premium Australian produce.
In Australia for the first time, the group was on a food tour which included visits to regional Victoria vineyards and the Jade Tiger Abalone facility at Indented Head, near Geelong.
The winners then spent time at the famous Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne before participating in a reverse cook-off with local Australian chefs at Raw Material Cooking Studio in Footscray.
While Australia and Japan have enjoyed a long and fruitful trading relationship, Australia has only just begun to tap into the enormous Japanese demand for premium products.
Austrade Trade Commissioner in Tokyo Julianne Merriman said the Taste of Australia Menu Competition was designed to increase awareness of premium Australian food and wine in Japan’s high-end food service industry.
“There are a lot of places throughout Japan serving premium Australian products, but the potential to increase this is enormous and now is the time to do it,” Julianne said.
“The high-end market here is growing and demand continues to strengthen.
Australian premium products are seen as safe, high quality, and offering the diversity and innovation that Japanese consumers are looking for.
“Their growing appeal is helped by reduced tariffs, a better understanding of Australia’s culinary strengths and improved access for Australian exporters, and the Taste of Australia Menu Competition has enabled us to further promote our unique products,” Julianne said.
Japan is Australia’s second largest market for agricultural exports and Australian beef, salmon and truffles enjoy a strong reputation.