Japanese Culinary Students Create Inclusive Dining Experience at Local Nursery
In a groundbreaking initiative, students from the International Beauty & Food University in Fukushima’s Koriyama City organized a unique event, the first of its kind in Japan, known as “One Table Day”, which was held on Oct 4, 2023.
This event aimed to foster inclusivity by having all children, regardless of their allergies, sit together at the same table and enjoy a shared meal.
Under the guidance of Chef Kusumoto, renowned for running the world’s leading vegan restaurant, “Saido” in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, students from the International Beauty & Food University embarked on an ambitious project. They prepared allergen-free meals for all the children at FSG Nursery, a local facility in the City.
One Table Day – Bridging the Gap
The core idea behind “One Table Day” was to create a dining experience where children with allergies and those without could come together, share the same table, and enjoy the same meals. This event not only challenged the culinary skills of the students but also promoted unity and inclusivity among the nursery’s young attendees.
A Menu That Reflects Inclusivity and Culinary Creativity
The students prepared a delightful menu for the occasion, featuring a variety of dishes:
- Sun’s Curry “Calidu Soleil” (Food Science)
- Pumpkin Soup (Food Science)
- Spring Roll Salad (Food Science)
- Airy Rouge (Pastry Science)
- Strawberry Sweet Sake with Rice Koji (Boulangerie)
Remarkably, all these dishes were not only vegan-friendly but also free from 28 specific allergens. The success of the event was evident as the children eagerly went for seconds.
Student and Chef Perspectives
One of the students shared, “Searching for suitable ingredients, creating menu items, and experimenting with flavors were challenging tasks. However, the process introduced me to new ingredients and seasonings, broadening my culinary horizons. Seeing the children gathered around one table, enjoying their meals, made me realize the value of this effort, and I aim to carry the spirit of ‘One Table’ into various aspects of my future career.”
Chef Kusumoto emphasized, “If there’s a possibility for everyone to dine together at the same table, it’s a goal worth pursuing as a chef. Operating under strict specifications in daily cooking leads to innovative ideas and unique thinking. By refining one’s uniqueness, we enhance our value as culinary professionals.”
Continuing the Journey Towards Inclusivity
The International Beauty & Food University is committed to promoting initiatives like “One Table Day.” This pioneering event has set a precedent in Japan, demonstrating how food can be a powerful tool in bringing people together and fostering inclusivity.