SAORI KAWANO is the founder and president of Korin Japanese Trading Corp. She moved to New York from Japan in 1978 to pursue her lifelong dream of bringing Japanese knives and tableware into American restaurants and homes. Kawano's finely tuned business and management skills earned her the 2003 Top Diversity-Owned Business Award from DiversityBusiness.com
and the 2004 Asian Women in Business Entrepreneurial Leadership Award. She has been an active member of the James Beard Foundation since 2002 and received the James Beard Foundation Angel Award in 2005 for her independent vision, dedication and support. She was then introduced on the June 2006 issue of News Week Japan under the 100 World Renowned Japanese Women as a maverick.
Saori Kawano served on the Board of Directors for the National Minority Business Council (NMBC) and was recognized by the NMBC’s Women’s Business Committee in 2006, receiving their "Salute to Women Certificate" for her accomplishments. She was also the Executive Vice President/Japanese Liaison for the Euro-American Women's Council and participated in many food industry organizations, including the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR) and the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI.)
In 2006, Kawano launched the Gohan Society
, a non-profit organization fostering US-Japan culinary and cultural exchange. Through the Gohan Society
, Kawano brings together professionals from culinary institutions, food journalism and publishing, the restaurant and restaurant supply industries and everyone who loves food to develop meaningful exchange programs.
In 2007, received the Nation to Nation Network Leadership Award from the United Nations.
In 2010, Kawano was a recipient of the “Fast 50 Asian American Businesses” Award for outstanding achievements of Asian American-owned businesses by The US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, Kawano was awarded with the 2011 Woman of Excellence by the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
In 2016, she received the Outstanding 50 Asian American in Business award and published her seven year book project titled "Chef's Choice: 22 Culinary Masters Tell How Japanese Food Culture Influenced Their Careers and Cuisine." She also became a national board of director to Career through Culinary Art Program (C-CAP), which supports public high school culinary programs.