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AJCA Grows in Strength, Chef Shojiro Urabe bestowed Worldchefs Honorary Life Membership

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Japan, 19th June 2017

Tokyo, Japan, June 2017: The All Japan Chefs Association AJCA recently held their General Meeting at the Metropolitan Hotel in Tokyo. In attendance were the 13 regional AJCA presidents, many AJCA members, members of the IKA 2016 National Team as well as individual competitors, and two special guests from Worldchefs; President Thomas Gugler and Continental Director Dr. Rick Stephen.

This event was elevated even further with the presence of a number of highly influential politicians, making it clear that the AJCA have a direct line with the government of Japan as they work hand-in-hand to achieve the same culinary goals.

AJCA President Toshi Utsunomiyo was extremely happy to see the full room of chefs, and the AJCA’s respect for Worldchefs was palpable – each and every person in the room was wearing a Worldchefs tie.

During his presentation, the President emphasized the importance of working with the government, especially in view of the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo.

Worldchefs’ President Thomas Gugler was invited onto the stage and delivered his congratulations to Japan on their strong relationship with the government and also with Worldchefs. He commented  on how many members still talk about the wonderful cuisine they experienced in Japan during the 2002 World Congress in Kyoto. President Thomas thanked the Japanese culinary team and congratulated them on the success of 2016 IKA. He then presented Toshi-san with a medal for his continuous support of chefs in Japan and in Worldchefs.

Continental Director Dr. Rick Stephen  started his presentation with the 2018 Congress video, inviting all of Japan to be part of Asia’s next World Congress & Expo in Kuala Lumpur, and highlighing the benefits of proximity to this global event for Japan.  He  then spoke about the great work being done behind the scenes in Japan, including their major work in the culinary area, as well as work with the various government departments. CD Rick then presented his Continental Director’s medal to the AJCA, to be kept in the trophy room at their head office.

Both Worldchefs presentations would not have been possible without the support of Sammy Iwasaki, the host for Worldchefs President and Continental Director.

The afternoon heralded a special occasion for a number of chefs from Japan, who were recognized for their contributions to the AJCA and the AJCA National Team, and were greeted like heroes when they received their special commendation for their services to Japan. Recipients were pleased to meet the Worldchefs delegation. President Thomas and CD Rick were also awarded with a VIP Citation from the AJCA.

Evening celebrations moved over to the Prince Park Tower Hotel, where Chef Kenji Miura is the Executive Chef. Kenji was the National Team Captain for Japan at the 2012 Culinary Olympics.

The dinner was to highlight the success of the AJCA and also to honour its member Shojiro Urabe who was to receive his Worldchefs Honorary Life Membership. Urabe-san has been a member of the AJCA for 60 years and on the board of the AJCA for 20 years, he was previously the liaison for International Affairs and a member of the Worldchefs jury.

At the dinner, the government was represented by eight ministers, there to show their support to the AJCA.  It was good to catch-up with Iron Chef,  Chef Hiroyuki Sakai and some 600 other guests in attendance, but the main star for the evening and the highlight everyone was there to witness was the Worldchefs HLM being given to Chef Shorijo Urabe.

CD Rick handled the procedures and was well supported by President Thomas.

Honoring Shorijo Urabe

Worldchefs are very proud to have Shorijo Urabe join the ranks as Honorary Life Member, he has served his nation extremely well and at the same time been a backbone for Worldchefs in Japan with his continuous work.  After the ceremony, Shorijo Urabe was surrounded by his fellow countrymen who were keen to congratulate him on his great success, and all that he had done for Japan.

The overall evening was a great success and all involved should be extremely proud; Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Worldchefs newest Honorary Life Member Shorijo Urabe.


PHOTO CAPTION (left – right): Worldchefs Continental Director Asia, Dr Rick Stephen; Worldchefs Honorary Life Member Shorijo Urabe; Worldchefs President Thomas Gugler; AJCA President Toshi Utsunomiyo

ABOUT Worldchefs Honorary Lifetime Members

 In 1928 at the Sorbonne University in Paris, the newly formed World Association of Chefs Societies bestowed the title of Honorary President upon Auguste Escoffier, the most famous chef in the world. In the years preceding, as the membership of Worldchefs continued to grow, it was decided that individuals who had contributed to the culinary profession in an exemplary manner would receive a prestigious medal of honour – the Honorary Lifetime Member award – the highest recognition awarded by Worldchefs.
Honorary Lifetime Awards are bestowed every two years, at the Worldchefs Congress & Expo, a bi-annual must-attend global chefs event. Access to this exclusive honour is limited – there can only be as many Lifetime Award recipients as there are fully paid Worldchefs member countries. Of a global base of 10 million chefs worldwide, there are currently just under 100 Honorary Lifetime Members alive today.


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