February 25, 2012
Houston Bento Contest 2012: Final Battle
On Saturday, February 25, 2012 the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston held the Houston Bento Contest 2012: Final Battle at Rice Epicurean, Briargrove. The event was sponsored by The Epicurean Cooking School and Satake USA, Inc.
Winners of preliminary categories:
The six finalists were given 10 minutes to create a bento with an assortment of Rice Epicurean food that was set up at work stations. The finalists could bring tools from home, but could only use the supplies to put in the bento that were provided. Junjiro Naoki, President & CEO of Satake USA, Inc., Sarah Augustine, Director of Epicurean Cooking School, Shree Kurelekar, Executive Director of Japan-America Society of Houston, Jessica Parker, JETAA Vice-President and Ayako Koide, Vice-Consul of Cultural Affairs were set with the difficult task of judging the six bentos. While all of the finalists put together impressive bentos, in the end Derek Yeung won the hearts of the judges with his creativity and cute creation and was declared Bento-Box champion.
In addition to the Final Battle, Mrs. Masae Inagaki shared her bento-making wisdom with attendees. Her short informative lecture highlighted the basics, including food safety and balance of color. Mrs. Inagaki, who was assisted by the translator Mrs. Yuko Yamada, even shared some of her secrets for creating heart shaped eggs and bunny rabbit apple slices. Following the lecture attendees got to try their hand at making an onigiri, or rice ball, something that is often a staple of a bento lunch. Participants increased their understanding of the safety of Japanese food and the variety of Japanese cooking through this event.