Japanese Ambassador Sugiyama Akira last week formally presented Dharshan Munidasa, renowned chef and restaurateur of Nihonbashi and Ministry of Crab, with the honorary title of ‘Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador,’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in Japan in recognition of his contribution to promoting Japanese cuisine and culinary culture overseas.
‘Washoku,’ also known as Japanese cuisine, was registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. In 2014, MAFF began commending ‘Washoku’ professionals capable of providing consultations on promoting Japanese food and dietary culture as ‘Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador’.
Munidasa is the first in Sri Lanka to be appointed as Goodwill Ambassador. He was also awarded the ‘Minister’s Awards for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food’ in 2014 by the same institution.
Munidasa’s culinary journey towards promoting Japanese cuisine in Sri Lanka extends over two decades with the establishment of Nihonbashi in Colombo in 1995 and Ministry of Crab in 2011. Nihonbashi, a restaurant specialising in authentic Japanese cuisine, and Ministry of Crab, an exclusive fine dining specialised in seafood while incorporating the essence of Japanese cuisine in its seasoning, were both recognised in Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants from 2013 to 2018 and 2015 to 2020 respectively for six consecutive years. Munidasa also expanded the operations of Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi to five countries outside of Sri Lanka.
Upon the presentation of the honorary title to Munidasa, Ambassador Sugiyama expressed sincere hope that Munidasa would further promote Japanese cuisine in the island and develop friendly relationship between the two nations through nurturing harmony of the two culinary cultures.
In response Munidasa stated: “It is my great honour to be appointed as Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by the Government of Japan. I will continue efforts to popularise Japanese cuisine in Sri Lanka and beyond by serving high-quality authentic Japanese dishes with the philosophy of ‘Washoku’ in mind.”