Japan 40th Anniversary Grand Chapitre
Tokyo, October 13-15, 2017
An unprecedented celebration
" The Gala Dinner for nearly 300 guests was held at the Hotel Okura where the Bailliage of Japan held its inaugural Gala Dinner in 1977 "

I am delighted to report on the 40th Anniversary Japan Grand Chapitre which was hosted at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo where it all began in 1977.

Since becoming Bailli Délégué of Japan, hosting this event has become my greatest honour, welcoming distinguished confrères from the Bailliages of Austria, China, Finland, France, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. 

Joel Robuchon generously attended the Grand Chapitre in three capacities: as chef, as an inductee (with the grade of Chevalier d’Honneur) and as a confrère at the Gala Dinner. 

Naturally we were thrilled that President Yam Atallah had agreed to be the Inducting Officer. Supported by Roberto Zanghi, Member of the Conseil Magistral and Bailli Délégué of Italy, over 60 new members received their Chaîne regalia. These included Mrs Teruko Yugi, the owner of Tokyo Kitcho Honten which is the most prestigious kaiseki restaurant in Japan.

The Welcome Dinner was held at the Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon, recipient of 3 Michelin stars for the past 10 years, with Monsieur Robuchon personally leading his brigade of chefs, including Chef Alain Verzeroli, for our private party of 140 lucky and enchanted diners.

The Gala Dinner for nearly 300 guests was held at the Hotel Okura where the Bailliage of Japan held its inaugural Gala Dinner in 1977 with just 20 members in attendance.

The same menu prepared by the legendary Chef Ono 40 years ago was painstakingly recreated, paired with the same Champagne, for 300 guests. One noteworthy dish was the “caviar frais avec ses condiments” (English: caviar with its accompaniments) which Monsieur Robuchon had actually introduced to Chef Ono when he was a young chef working at the Hotel Okura.

At the dinner I was truly touched and surprised to learn of this from Monsieur Robuchon. He too had a similar yet obviously more personal reaction to being served his exquisite creation. 

The Farewell Lunch featuring various delicate tofu dishes was held at Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai Tei. Situated in the grounds of a beautiful and vast Japanese garden, it lies in the shadows of the historic Tokyo Tower fittingly inspired by the Eiffel Tower when it was built in 1957. 

Thank you to all of you who made the long journey to my home country, and sincere apologies to those who were unable to attend the over-capacity events.

For those who have not visited Japan recently, I encourage you to visit Tokyo before the 2020 Olympics so that you may enjoy the city before many changes transform the old city I cherish.

Saihei Makinami
Bailli Délégué

All photos (c) Fumiaki Yamazaki & (c) Akimichi Nakazono