The 2014 Tokyo Ramen Show ended in surprise this weekend when an amateur cook beat professional chefs in the big ramen contest.
According to RocketNews24, an ordinary salaryman named Takeo Kanda took the “Best Newcomer” award at the Ramen Show over a playing field comprising mostly up-and-coming professional chefs. That would have been surprising enough, but when it came time to accept the 500,000 yen, or about $4,500, prize, Kanda turned it down.
“I cannot possibly accept this prize,” Kanda said when he received the honor. “I’m a salaryman, and I have no plans to open a ramen restaurant of my own. The prize money was raised thanks to the hard work of the National Ramen Association, so I would like to see the money go to them.”
As a hobby, Kanda maintains a blog showcasing his ramen experiments, and he took the prize at the Ramen Show with an out-of-the-box “Sea Chicken” ramen made with tuna that impressed the judges.
“Using tuna in ramen was a very rare and innovative move,” one of the judges said. “I wish he would accept the prize money. I also wish that he would open his own restaurant, but what can you do?”