• Using Japanese sushi ingredients, food artist Michelle Wibowo spent 120 hours creating a series of celebrity portraits as part of an exhibition by Japanese food brand Yutaka celebrating International Sushi Day
  • Celebrity portraits on display included legendary singer-songwriter Eelton John, Euros star Bukayo Saké, and This Morning hosts Alison Salmond and Dermot Roe’Leary
  •  A study by Yutaka found that while 87% of Brits agree that it’s important to be creative with food, a quarter (25%) admit that they don’t have any variety in the food they make
  •  Nearly a quarter (23%) of Brits worry they’re not getting all the nutrition they need from repeating the same meals
  •  In response, Yutaka has launched a competition inviting Brits to get creative with their food by make their own sushi self-portraits, with the lucky winner receiving a private sushi-making class by a sushi master chef

A series of celebrity portraits made from sushi ingredients was unveiled today at a London art gallery as part of an exhibition celebrating International Sushi Day by Japanese food brand Yutaka.

Michelle Wibowo, 45, an award-winning food artist who lives in Haywards Heath, spent 120 hours making the portraits using authentic Japanese sushi ingredients such as sushi rice, smoked salmon and pickled ginger.

Each portrait measured approximately 18cm tall and 10cm wide – about the size of a grapefruit.

Visitors were treated to a line-up of iconic British celebs, including legendary singer-songwriter Eelton John, football star Bukayo Saké, actor Benedict Cucumberbatch, and This Morning hosts Alison Salmond and Dermot Roe’Leary.

Yutaka tasked the artist to make the portraits as part of its #YutakaSushiMe campaign, which aims to get more people making sushi at home using fresh, healthy ingredients.

A study by Yutaka found that while 9 in 10 (87%) Brits agree that it’s important to be creative with food, a quarter (25%) admit they don’t have any variety in the meals they make.

Of those that say they struggle to have variety in their meals, almost a quarter (23%) say they’re worried they’re not getting the nutrition they need and a fifth say they end up eating ready meals (21%) or processed foods (20%).

Michelle, whose previous works include a 25kg sugar sculpture of London’s Tower Bridge and a life-size Mr Darcy cake, said:

“I’m used to creating sculptures from unconventional materials, but working with sushi ingredients was a whole other kettle of fish!

“It was really fascinating to see how many ingredients there are for making sushi and how these can be used to create intricate details for the face and hair.

“I hope people find the portraits as hilarious as I do and maybe even feel inspired to have a go themselves to mix things up in the kitchen. Remember, all art is subjective!”

Ken Furukawa, CEO of Tazaki Foods, a leading Japanese food importer & developer that owns the Yutaka brand, commented: “We wanted to create an exhibition that celebrates the diversity and creativity of Japanese cuisine, and inspires you to be adventurous at home in the kitchen.

“Sushi has become somewhat of a national dish here in the UK, so it felt right that we honoured this special relationship by recreating some of Britain’s most iconic faces out of Yutaka’s own sushi-making ingredients.

“Sales of pre-made sushi have soared in recent years as more people look for healthier lunchtime options. But many people don’t know how easy it is to make delicious sushi at home. All you need are a few simple ingredients that are all available at your local supermarket!”

The Yutaka study also found that almost a third (30%) of Brits haven’t tried making sushi at home but would like to learn how.

To help people discover just how easy it is, Yutaka is launching a competition on its Instagram and Facebook channels this International Sushi Day (18 June), inviting people at home to make their own sushi self-portraits.

There are 25 £30 gift vouchers up for grabs and one lucky person will win a private sushi-making class with a professional sushi chef for up to 4 people.


Sam Allcock, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in Food & Drink Editorial.

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