While collaborating on a recent project together, both chefs discovered a common love for sake and onigiri – a handmade Japanese rice ball. The onigiri is a simple yet very meaningful traditional comfort food. It is typically made by a loved one – most people in Japan have fond childhood memories of their mother preparing one for school lunch or as a snack.
A symbol of love and affection, the chef duo wanted to make onigiri to share during this time of forced separation and isolation due to national lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Over the past few months, both chefs have been making onigiri together with local chefs at various distilleries across Japan. Together, they have been spreading a message of hope and unity.
In the process, they donate their onigiri to local community projects and hospital workers to express their gratitude for their work.
In addition, chefs all around the world have been extending the message through Instagram making their own versions of onigiri.
The project is set to continue into the year following the success of the campaign. Both chefs are inviting people to join the Onigiri Squad and spread this message within their community.
You can also join by creating your own version, or keeping it traditional, share it on instagram letting your loved ones know you are with them during these challenging times.
Among the international chefs who have taken part so far there are Virgilio Martinez of Central, Lima, Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery, Manila, Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil in Mexico, Ana Ros of Hisa Franko in Slovenia, Takahiko Kondo of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Anthony Genovese of Il Pagliaccio in Rome, Bo Songvisava of Bo.lan in Bangkok, Kazutoshi Endo of Endo at the Rotunda in London and Kyle Connaughton of Singlethread Farms in California.