Vladimir Pak, a Russian sushi chef now working in a restaurant at Fornebu just outside Oslo, won the World Sushi Cup in Japan late last week. The international competition was part of the 19th Annual Japan International Seafood & Technology Expo.
“It’s just incredible that we won, and didn’t just win but knocked out the others,” Njål Gaute Solland, chief executive of the Sabi Sushi firm based in Stavanger, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Pak is a former chef at Sabi Sushi at Hinna in Stavanger and now works for Sabi’s Jonathan Sushi restaurant at Fornebu, on the site of Oslo’s former airport.
Sushi is enormously popular in Norway and benefits from the quality of Norway’s ample supplies of fresh seafood. The small, core Sabi Sushi restaurant in Stavanger recently won a Michelin star and now its owners can claim the World Sushi Cup. The competition lasted for two days in addition to a day spent qualifying for the finals. Competing sushi chefs from Taiwan to India and the US spent one day making “creative” sushi and the other day making traditional Japanese sushi.
Pak’s cousin Vitaliy, who runs Sabi Sushi in Haugesund, also took part in the competition and made it into the top 20 finalists as well. It was the third time Vladimir Pak, who was not available for comment, competed in the World Sushi Cup, finishing seventh in 2015 and third last year.