Tokyo’s ANA Intercontinental hosted a landmark event last night to celebrate locally grown food and to support farmers and fishermen from the tsunami struck Tohoku region. Soul of Tohoku, brought together hundreds of chefs from Japan’s top restaurants in the packed grand ball room.

Organizing chef Yoshihiro Murata says “The grief encountered by our primary producers as a result of the earthquake is truly heartrending. Even once life has returned to normal, I am afraid that damage to the area’s reputation will linger. Among Japan’s best produce, ingredients from the Tohoku region stand out as exceptional. This is why I believe we must save our primary producers.”

Murata, also chairman of the Japan Culinary Academy studied in France and at traditional restaurants around Japan, before opening Kaiseki, one of Kyoto’s most famous restaurants.

Tohoku sake“For cooks of Japanese cuisine overseas as well, I ask you to continue doing your best in spite of ingredient supply disruption. Japanese cuisine has made a worldwide name for itself. Let us never be discouraged, and together continue to aim for the best,” Murata says.

A diverse array of cuisine was on offer, from ramen, soup and pastas to freshly sliced sushi and bottles of Tohoku sake. The lively event finished with a charity auction and though this was a fun celebration, the purpose is clear: Tohoku food is not only safe to eat, it is delicious too.