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Chefs : 2009
188 GREAT, GRAND & FAMOUS CHEFS AND THEIR SIGNATURE DISHES etsuya Wakuda has no Michelin stars: he is the only one of our chefs not to. But we must assume this fact is of little concern to him. It is simply an accident of geography, and perhaps fate, that he should have arrived in Australia and stayed. Had he set up his restaurant in any of the 21 countries---including his native Japan--- which Michelin inspectors now visit there is no doubt that he too would have his stars. Which is not to say he will not get them. In 2007 Michelin published its first guide to Tokyo, and in 2008 the Michelin Guide's director, Jean-Luc Naret, stated that the company was considering their options "from India to Australia." Because cuisine, just like publishing and tires, is global. That Michelin should be looking east is hardly surprising. As Jean-Luc Naret says, "Japan---and Tokyo in particular---seemed the natural gateway to Asia, which is so rich in gourmet food and cooking traditions." But what was surprising was that Tokyo restaurants were awarded a total of 191 stars, more than triple the number of Paris. Eight of those restaurants were given three stars (Paris has but 10 three-star establishments) and it confirmed Tokyo as prime contender for the title of dining capital of the world. In 2008, when the star count rose to 227, with another three-star restaurant added, Naret told a press conference that "Tokyo is, and remains, the most starred city in the world. Japanese cuisine is dynamic, diverse, rich and interesting." The rest of the world, it seemed, was lacking something. But what? Perhaps a scientific paper published in 1909 by a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda is the first place to look. There one will find, extracted from seaweed, the ionic form of monovalent glutamate, or glutamic acid. Ikeda named it umami, and it has become known, after sweet, salty, sour and bitter, as the fifth taste. Umami is a Japanese word meaning savoury, and it is this 'meaty' flavour particular to dashi T Borders THE TASTE OF INTERNATIONALISM