The Gohan Society

The Gohan Society Culinary Cultural Exchange Scholarship Program

About Us

The Gohan Society’s mission is to foster a mutual appreciation of culinary heritage between the United States and Japan through outreach to chefs, culinary arts professionals, and food enthusiasts.

We are committed to the principles of cultural and gastronomic education and exchange. We believe that by inspiring chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, and food lovers, we will expand and enrich their repertoires, their artistry, and their cultural understanding.

The Gohan Society serves as a resource center for knowledge of traditional Japanese ingredients, techniques and food-related products, and as a catalyst for the expansion of that knowledge.



The Gohan Society Culinary Cultural Exchange Scholarship Program will send accomplished Sous Chefs, Chefs de Cuisine, or Executive Chefs to Japan for a ten-day culinary cultural exchange program in order to expand their interest in Japanese cuisine and culture and to learn authentic cooking techniques that they can teach/apply in their respective kitchens.


Previous Scholarship Recipients

The Chef Scholarship Program is one of our most important initiatives at The Gohan Society, as it allows us to send U.S.-based chefs to Japan, where they will experience a truly genuine and unforgettable culinary adventure. In exchange, we bring chefs from Japan to train at restaurants in New York. Past U.S.-based scholarship recipients include Chris Muller, Executive Chef of the Michelin three-star rated restaurant Le Bernardin; Chef Eddy Leroux, Chef de Cuisine at Daniel (two Michelin stars); Cédric Vongerichten, Chef de Cuisine at Perry St; Chef Brother Luck, owner/chef of Four by Brother Luck in Colorado Springs and “cheftestant” on Bravo Top Chef; Akshay Bhardwaj, Executive Chef of Junoon NYC (Michelin star-rated); and Suzanne Cupps, Chef de Cuisine of Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


2019 Chef Scholarship Recipients


2020 Culinary Cultural Exchange Scholarship

Tentative Program Itinerary, May 23, 2020 (Program details subject to change)

5/23 – Depart for Japan

5/24 – Arrive to Komatsu Airport in Ishikawa Prefecture (Stay in a traditional Japanese inn 2 nights)

5/25 – Cultural Activities in Yamanaka

5/26 – Travel from Yamanaka to Kanazawa (Stay in hotel in Kanazawa 4 nights), Day 1 of Stage

5/27 – Day 2 of Stage

5/28 – Day 3 of Stage

5/29 – Day 4 of Stage

5/30 – Free day in Kanazawa

5/31 – Travel from Kanazawa to Osaka, afternoon and evening in Osaka (stay in Osaka 2 nights)

6/1 – Visit Sakai knife makers

6/2 – Travel from Osaka to Tokyo, fugu experience (stay in Tokyo 2 nights)

6/3 – Visit to Toyosu fish market, free day in Tokyo, farewell dinner

6/4 – Return to US


What’s covered?

- Air tickets and all transportation during this program (except for free days)

- Accommodations (except for free days)

- Meals (except for free days)



- Must have a genuine interest in Japanese cuisine and culture, which you should explain in the required essay.

- Must have 6+ years of experience in a professional kitchen.

- Must have approval from supervisor of your workplace.

- Must be a working Sous Chef, Chef de Cuisine, or Executive Chef at the time of the application process and the scholarship program.


Application Requirements

- Submit application by August 23, 2019.

- Pay an application fee of $50 (Includes one-year membership to The Gohan Society).


If selected, you will be required to do the following:

- Attend the mandatory orientation in March/April, exact date TBD.

- Keep a daily active log on social media and tag The Gohan Society using @gohansociety and #gohansociety during the program.

-Devote your full time and attention to the program. Spouses and family members are NOT permitted to accompany candidates during the official portion of the program. You may extend your stay in Japan at your own expense after the completion of the program.

- Be courteous, attentive, and professional during your stage in Japan.

- Continue your affiliation with The Gohan Society as a Culinary Advisory Board member after the program.

- Have your own medical/health and travel insurance. The Gohan Society is not responsible and will not provide any medical/ health/travel insurance for this program or otherwise.

- Participate in events following the Scholarship trip to demonstrate your newfound cooking techniques and share some details of your trip to a public audience.

- Fill out a survey at the conclusion of the program.



Applicants will be judged and selected based on a variety of factors in the sole discretion of The Gohan Society. Some of the factors include the completed essay, professional experience, letter(s) of recommendation, and involvement with The Gohan Society. Finalists may be requested to participate in a personal interview. In judging and selecting candidates, The Gohan Society will abide by all applicable US federal, state, and local rules prohibiting discrimination.


Application Deadline

Applications must be submitted on or before Friday, August 23, 2019, and notifications of acceptance will be sent on or before Friday, August 30, 2019.




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