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7 October 2009 | PR 09/133

Loughborough chefs get a taste of Japanese cuisine

Mark Price in Tokyo

imago services head of group catering Mark Price visits Japan's Ajinomoto National Training Centre

Two Loughborough University chefs have spent a fortnight in Japan to understand the country’s food culture and ensure visiting athletes on campus receive a taste of home in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

imago services head of group catering Mark Price and Burleigh Court hotel chef Andy Grant travelled to Tokyo as part of an organised study tour designed to teach the key aspects of Japanese food, with Price staying an additional week to shadow the catering team at the Ajinomoto National Training Centre who provide meals for up to 500 athletes each day.

The National Training Centre is home to 12 national sports as well as the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), who earlier this year signed a memorandum of understanding with Loughborough University to provide a European base for its national teams in the three years prior to the 2010 Games. 

During his stay Price was able to find out first hand how Japan’s elite athletes are catered for as well as visiting food farms and factories, and even the world’s largest fish market, to understand the basic building blocks of a Japanese menu.

“It was really interesting to find out what the Japanese athletes are used to as standard, in order that we can make sure we at least replicate that here in Loughborough,” he said.

“At the National Centre, nutritionists and dieticians play an integral role in planning the menu and athletes were educated via signs which showed them the types and amounts of food they should be eating.

“Miso soup and rice are important parts of the Japanese diet and are available at every meal, including breakfast.”

Price has already brought many of the lessons learnt in Japan back to the UK and is currently looking at how he might incorporate elements of Japanese food into the fine dining and lunchtime menus at campus hotel Burleigh Court. He is also in discussions with local oriental food suppliers to source ingredients that will support his new menu ideas.

His next step is to look at further strengthening the relationship between Loughborough and the National Centre and he hopes to be able to set up an exchange programme where chefs from each country can learn from each other.

“It was great to be able to travel to Japan to get a much better understanding of how they produce their food,” he explained. “It’s important for us to build links with our equivalents out there and we’re now looking at the possibility of sending our chefs out to Tokyo as well as hosting Japanese chefs here at Loughborough.”


For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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