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Chef Tojo of Vancouver honoured as Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese food

Last Updated Jun 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm EST

VANCOUVER – Vancouver restaurateur and culinary inventor Hidekazu Tojo is being honoured as a Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine.

The appointment has been made by the Japanese government’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries.

Tojo came to Vancouver in the early 1970s and his restaurant’s website says he the creator of the first California roll, named not for the state, but for the origin of the avocado inside the seaweed and rice wrapped sushi.

His Vancouver restaurant has garnered international attention and numerous awards including an annual Zagat extraordinary rating from 2007 to 2012.

A news release from the Japanese Consulate says the appointment distinguishes Tojo as belonging to the top tier of Japanese chefs and makes him one of 13 such ambassadors outside Japan.

The Consul General of Japan in Vancouver will formally present a certificate to him in a special ceremony planned for Thursday.