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When Barry Chaim first opened his restaurant in midtown Toronto in 1986, he was one of the few chefs offering up Japanese cuisine. He was, if you will, a pioneer in introducing Japanese cuisine to the city, as there were only about 40 Japanese restaurants in Toronto at the time.
His restaurant, EDO, became a near-instant success, and was almost immediately recognized as one of the top sushi spots in the city, as well as one of the best overall dining experiences in Toronto. It attracted foodies from across the city.
In 1999, Chaim and EDO would expand again, taking sushi to an even larger scale. Chaim is responsible for bringing sushi into the then-new Air Canada Centre, opening up an EDO inside the arena. It was the first sushi restaurant in an arena outside of Japan.
Now, Japan has taken notice, and Barry Chaim was recently conferred the Foreign Minister Commendation of the Government of Japan, which recognizes his efforts and contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries (of course, specifically Canada in this case).
It's not the first time Chaim has been recognized for his efforts. In 2003, the businessman was made a fellow of the Ontario Hostelry Institute, highlighting and commemorating his outstanding efforts to bring Japanese food to Toronto, alongside his persistence and dedication to bridging cultural gaps between Ontario (specifically Toronto) and Japan.
Chaim has spent his career studying and immersing himself in Japanese culture and, of course, cuisine was a big part of his undertaking. He received his Bachelor of Psychology from McGill University in Montreal, and then was awarded the Japanese Government Mombushu Research Fellowship. Chaim capitalized on the opportunity and went to study at Tokyo University in 1973.
Since 1986, EDO has grown from its one midtown outpost to open a Forest Hill location, as well as expand the original location to include catering.
The ceremony officially conferring Barry Chaim took place in Toronto.