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One of the most welcome things about the B-kyū gurume (B-grade gourmet) boom is that it’s rescued dishes such as ramen and katsudon from the clutches of salarymen. The down-home cooking that constitutes the bulk of the B-kyū menu is now widely appreciated as an expression of local tastes and culinary traditions. It’s not surprising to find families conversant in the nuances of noodle broths, or young couples traveling to the hinterlands in search of authentic country cuisine.

This inclusive spirit extends to the role of women in the B-kyū gurume field. In the Japanese restaurant industry, where females have traditionally faced the same barriers to advancement as they do in corporate boardrooms, B-kyū gurume is opening up doors in the kitchen, the media and the culinary-festival circuit.

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