Tōtsuki Autumn Election (秋の選抜 Aki no Senbatsu) is a Tōtsuki Culinary Academy first-year event. The Election is used to determine the current class standing of a Generation through a tournament styled event.
Selection of CandidatesEditA total of 60 students are selected amongst the first year students to participate in the event. During the Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training Camp, several Tōtsuki officials and judges pick out 40 students who stood out amongst the class to participate in the Election. The remaining 20 spots are decided and filled by the Elite Ten Council. The Elite Ten Council also have the ability to deliberate staff elected students if they feel that the student does not belong in the Election.
After the 60 students have been finalized, an announcement is made in the Academy and their names are displayed on one of two boards. This is to announce the preliminary rounds of the Election. The participants are divided into either the "A" or "B" Block with 30 students in each block. Sometime after the announcement, all of the participants will receive a letter, revealing the theme of the preliminaries.
During the course of the summer vacation, the candidates are given that time to prepare their dish for the preliminaries. They are expected to bring their own ingredients and any appliances they may need in order to cook their dishes. However, the school provides the basic appliances such as a sink and an oven.
Preliminary RoundEditOn the day of the preliminaries, the 60 participants will gather in the main hall before splitting up into their respective blocks. Each block contains 30 students and a total of 5 judges, one of which serves as the head judge who are generally big names in the culinary industry. Students are given one hour to cook and prepare all of their ingredients for their dish. The students will then make 5 servings to serve all 5 judges. Each of the judges will take time to eat their dish and critique them before giving a final score. A judge can give a score from 0 to 20 points for a cumulative score of 100 points. However, judging is strict as the judges treat each dish as if the students were professional chefs. According to Osaji Kita, a score of 50 is the minimum score for a "satisfactory dish".
The top eight students, the top four from each block, shall advance to the main tournament. If two or more students are tied for fourth place, the judges will make the final call and choose the better dish in the case of a tiebreaker.
Main TournamentEditFrom the 8 students who made it to this round, the first round match ups are decided lottery style, based on the score spread from the preliminaries. Each match has a different theme from each other and is also decided randomly. Opponents in the Semifinals are also randomized, meaning that there is no fixed opponent for each round except for the finals.
The arena supplies the basic cooking appliances and some basic ingredients as well such as ramen noodles. Other themes, such as a bento theme, must utilize a specific item. In this case, a bento box with specific dimensions and features. Students are allowed to bring any appliances or utensils they need to create and complete their dish and must provide their own ingredients unless it is one of the specific ingredients as mentioned before. The day before their quarterfinal match, the Elite Ten Council informs the competitors of their opponent and their battle theme. According to Senzaemon Nakiri, the purpose of that round is to show the student's flexibility and ability to think on their feet as they are given less than a day to pick out and create a dish to fulfill a certain theme. From the semifinals onward, the participants are given a week to prepare. In all rounds of the tournament, the cooking period lasted two hours.
For the judging portion, students must prepare enough servings of their dishes for each of the judges. There is no scoring involved like the preliminaries which is meant to prevent any ties from happening as much as possible. The judges each must choose the dish that they felt was better overall. In most cases, the results were unanimous. The judges themselves are comprised of several notable figures in the culinary industry. The quarterfinal rounds of the 43rd Election were judged by Senzaemon Nakiri and several other well-respected culinary figures. The Semifinal rounds were judged by 5 Tōtsuki Alumni and previous Elite Ten Council members. The Final round was judged by three key members of the Tōtsuki Company.
Though the matches are already cooking duels, students are allowed to change their matches into a Shokugeki if both parties agree to have one as per rules of declaring one. The cooking time will remain the same, however the judging changes into a Shokugeki style of judging where each judge will vote individually and the individual with the most votes will win the match.
Despite the fact that the judging round was never to result in a tie, for the first time in Tōtsuki history in the 43rd Election, a semifinal match was declared a tie because one of the judges could not pick a decisive winner, something the other judges agreed upon despite declaring a winner themselves. Due to this circumstance, the finals was changed into a three-way duel. It is not known if there is a special reward for winning the election aside from being crowned the best student of that generation at that moment.