Japan's government is giving kudos to a king of the Vancouver kitchen.
The country's ministry of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries has appointed Hidekazu Tojo — owner and chef of Tojo's Restaurant — to serve as a goodwill ambassador for Japanese cuisine.
Actor Harrison Ford poses with Hidekazu Tojo at his restaurant in Vancouver. (Photo: Tojo's Restaurant)
The appointment distinguishes him as belonging to the top tier of Japanese chefs, and he becomes one of only 13 such ambassadors overseas.
Tojo is credited with creating the California roll, an inside-out roll with cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado.
Born and trained in Japan, Tojo moved to Vancouver in 1971 when there were only a handful of Japanese restaurants. He opened Tojo's in 1988.
The sushi restaurant attracts many Hollywood stars, corporate bigwigs, and international dignitaries.
The Consul General of Japan in Vancouver will formally present a certificate to Tojo at a special ceremony next Thursday.