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A gastronomic treat

by Robbie Swinnerton

Chef alert! The big guns of global gastronomy are coming to town. The occasion is a convocation being held next week grandly titled “Tokyo Taste — the World Summit of Gastronomy 2009.”

The three-day event (Feb. 9-11) will include demonstrations of cooking techniques and panel discussions involving some of the most innovative chefs on the planet. What makes it doubly interesting is that it focuses heavily on the cutting-edge, technology-enhanced frontline of cuisine, often called molecular gastronomy.

The names most familiar to local gourmets will be those of Joel Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire, both of whom have brilliant high-end restaurants in Tokyo. But it is the Spanish contingent that will be generating the most attention. Ferran Adria (of famed Catalan restaurant El Bulli) and Juan Mari Arzak (the equally renowned Basque chef from San Sebastian) are the legendary apostles of this new wave.

Also taking part are Tetsuya Wakuda (regularly rated the finest chef in Sydney); Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck in Bray, U.K.); Massimiliano Alajmo (Le Calendre in Liguria, Italy); and Grant Achatz (Alinea in Chicago). We are salivating already.

More than holding their own in this heavyweight company are up-and-coming local stars Seiji Yamamoto, of the exciting Ryugin in Roppongi; and Yoshihiro Narisawa, whose tiny, eponymous restaurant in Minami-Aoyama has been a confidential, close-to-the-chest insiders’ secret for Tokyo gourmets.

This remarkable opportunity to observe top chefs in action will be held at the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho. Satellite events are being organized at external locations, including Studio +G Ginza, a space run by Tokyo Gas in the GINZA gCUBE Building (7-1-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; www.ginzagcube.com/studio/index).

General admission is ¥2,500. For more information, visit www.tokyotaste.net