|“||I... fight for Jun. That's all there is to it.||”|
— to Natsume Sendawara.
Akira Hayama (
Akira has dark skin and long, white hair that is mostly tied in a ponytail when he is cooking. His bangs are neatly swept to the right. He also has green eyes and is considerably tall and handsome. He often wears his school uniform unbuttoned with a shirt inside and a loosened tie around his uniform collar. When Akira cooks, he wears a dark chef's uniform. In his youth, Akira's hair was shorter but still retained his side-swept bangs. His clothes were much dirtier considering the living conditions of the neighborhood he grew up in.
Akira is a confident and calm student in Tōtsuki. Due to his sharp sense of smell which rivals Erina's God's Tongue, Akira proudly displays his ability and is not afraid to say that he is the best chef in the school. Like many of his classmates, Akira firmly believes that he will stand on top of Tōtsuki thanks to his abilities and is one of the few people who will stand up to Erina, declaring that he will claim her spot. Akira tends to stay in a neutral mood, rarely showing any sort of shock when confronted by any opposing force, even the likes of Subaru Mimasaka and Ryō Kurokiba. It is stated by Fuyumi Mizuhara that he only thinks about winning, never considering the possibility of losing. He is extremely diligent, always covering up for any sort of mistakes that Jun Shiomi forgets to do around the seminar room.
Much of Akira's drive comes from Jun, who found him in the streets of an unknown country. She brought him to Tōtsuki to expand his horizons. Since then, Akira has been thankful and has served as her assistant. He has stated that Jun is the reason why he continues to cook. As such, he even denied a lucrative job at the Haubi Food Company solely because his only purpose is to help Jun and refuses to stand at the top of Tōtsuki without her help. However, he is not above scolding her for being neglectful and even lectures her when she is irresponsible despite the fact that she is an adult while he is still only a student. His feeling of debt to all she has done led him to join Central despite his initial rejection of its ideals. Since being blackmailed into becoming a member of Central it seems Akira has become far more arrogant, egotistical, and seemingly callous, but still regretfully betraying his friends and even Jun. However, his bond with Jun still remains his strongest connection.
ChildhoodAkira was orphaned at a very young age and has no memory of his parents. He lived many years in the slums of an unnamed country, often scavenging through trash for food only to be subsequently beat up by adults. During one of his outings, he headed to a local marketplace and saw a young girl attempting to buy spice from a merchant. However, before she could buy them, he warned her that he could tell from his acute sense of smell that she was about to buy a weak blend. Although it greatly upset the merchant, Akira escaped with the girl and told her that a little girl should not be in such a shady marketplace alone. To his surprise, she introduced herself as Jun Shiomi, an adult lecturer at Tōtsuki Culinary Academy. Impressed by his smelling abilities and learning that Akira was an orphan, Jun immediately adopted him, taking legal custody of him.
Life in Tōtsuki Culinary AcademyUpon arrival in Hayama Seminar, in which Jun participated back then, Akira met Professor Hayama, who became his godfather and gave him his full name. Akira quickly began learning how to cook and get a formal education so he could live in Japan. Eventually, he was accepted into the middle school section of Tōtsuki Academy. Unlike Jun, Akira easily succeeded in all of his classes. During this time, he proved himself to be a very competent assistant to Jun and her research on spices, much to her surprise. However, during one instance, he learned that Jun felt she was unjustly taking advantage of him the whole time. Later that evening, while laying on a field of grass, Akira dismissed Jun's earlier statement and thought how much she changed his life. Sometime after, he completed middle school and enrolled into the high school section of Tōtsuki Academy.
The 92nd Orientation Ceremony
Main article: Introduction Arc
Akira, while sniffing a stick of cinnamon, attended the 92nd Tōtsuki Generation Orientation Ceremony and heard the speeches delivered by Senzaemon Nakiri and Sōma Yukihira. Upon hearing Sōma's speech, Akira sparked some interest in challenging him.
Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training Camp
Main article: Training Camp ArcSeveral weeks into the school term, Akira, along with the 980 students of the 92nd Tōtsuki Generation, participated in the Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training Camp at Tōtsuki Resort. However, during the camp, his abilities caught the attention of the numerous alumni as well as the Tōtsuki board, who chose him to participate in the 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election. He was among the 628 students to survive the camp.
The 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election
Main article: Tōtsuki Autumn Election Arc
When the participants for the election were revealed, Akira saw his name but chose to stand away from the crowd as he sniffed a stick of cinnamon. The day after the announcement, Jun sent Akira out to the grocers. Upon his return to Shiomi Seminar, Akira found Jun standing above Sōma Yukihira, who she had just punched, as well as Megumi Tadokoro who had accompanied Sōma. Sōma and Megumi came to Jun's classroom to seek knowledge about spices from her. Initially, Jun decided to only teach Megumi, denying any help to Sōma due to the trauma inflicted upon her by his Father's test dishes when they were in school together. Akira promptly served some tea and apologized for Jun's rashness as he introduced himself. Though Jun tried to scold Akira for not addressing her as Professor Shiomi, Akira reminded and scolded her for neglecting to water the spice plants in her classroom which he did instead, causing her to shrink figuratively.
Thanks to some goading by Sōma and Megumi Jun finally started to help the both of them by explaining the science of spices. Unfortunately, she entered her lecture mode, going off on a tangent from the purpose of their visit. With Jun too engrossed in her explanation, Akira invited Sōma and Megumi into the kitchen to try some of his spice samples. Akira quickly made a Kozhi Varutha Curry dish for the two and a single bite was all that was needed to impress Sōma. Next, he whipped up two servings of Goa Fish Curry with one having a minor difference of roasting the spices in one of them that made it more delicious than the other one. Finally, Akira served what seemed to be another Kozhi Varutha Curry plate, however, the aroma and flavor were stronger because he boiled the spices in water.
After experiencing Akira's curry samples, Sōma noticed that Akira did not look into any of his pots the entire time. Akira explained that his sharp sense of smell benefited Jun as he put her research into practice. Akira informed Sōma that he would be in Block "A". He then told Sōma that his dishes were amusing, but they were no match for someone like him who has mastered the art of aroma cooking. Akira boldly stated that he will be the one to stand at the top of Tōtsuki. To his surprise though, Sōma told him that he would make a curry better than his in the Preliminaries. Confused, Akira asked what Sōma thought about his samples. Sōma admitted that they were terrific, but if anyone could create something more delicious than him, he saw that as a challenge. As Sōma and Megumi departed, Akira declared that in the spice heavy battle for the Preliminaries, there is no way that he could win. Akira spent the summer perfecting his dish for the Preliminaries. After weeks of experimenting, he made a special compound of spices that he guaranteed would place him on top of the Preliminaries, much to Jun's concerns about his health since he spent numerous all nighters to create it. As Jun left, Akira later remarked that defeat would never cross in his mind. Still agitated by Sōma's visit and declaration, Akira silently vowed that he will prove the combination of Jun's research and his cooking skills will set him at the top of Tōtsuki.
Tōtsuki Autumn Election: Preliminary Round
See also: 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election
As the Summer Vacation concluded, Akira arrived at the venue where the other 59 participants in the preliminary round began to gather. Inside, Akira immediately spotted Sōma in the crowd. As he walked pass him, he smelled a faint aroma of spices from Sōma's fingers, acknowledging that Sōma put in some effort over the summer. Sōma restated his promise to show Akira his superior curry as Akira walked away. Shortly after, the lights dimmed in the arena as Senzaemon Nakiri entered, congratulating the 60 students for being chosen for the preliminaries and telling them the history of the very hall they currently stood in. Senzaemon officially began the 43rd Autumn Election and Akira quickly headed to the Block A arena.
As the Preliminary Round began, Akira quickly set off to work and was quickly noticed by the crowd and the head judge of Block A, Natsume Sendawara. When she looked at his station, he was using a sea bream head as the base for his curry. But, he was focusing on making naan bread, which the crowd seemed to find boring, however, Jun was the only person truly capable of seeing Akira's true motives. Nevertheless, Akira continued his expedition by adding lemongrass to his curry base, filling the arena with an alluring aroma. Wanting to know what Sōma was doing, he quickly glanced at his station to see him asleep, seated on a stool. However, Sōma quickly woke up and opened his pot, releasing a strong aroma and revealed that he was making a risotto. Akira walked over to Sōma's station and quickly broke down what he was using, however, there was something he still could not detect amongst the aroma. Although impressed, Sōma assured him that he had spent literally up until the last minute devising his dish.
Akira returned to his station and finished his dish before the cooking period concluded. As the judging round began, Akira stood with the rest of the Block "A" participants as he waited for his turn to have his dish judged. One-by-one the students presented their dishes, however, for all of the first wave of students, none were able to earn a score of 50 points or higher out of 100, let alone convince Natsume to award a single point. However, this trend ended with Ryō Kurokiba, whose dish was the first to entice Natsume to take a second bite and award him points, giving him a score of 93. As more and more of the remaining Block "A" participants presented their dishes, each managed to earn a satisfactory score of over 80. Finally, it was Akira's long awaited turn as he presented his curry. The judges were confused by the pot pie appearance of the dish. Akira instructed the judges to crack open the naan top of his Naan Pot Pie Curry using a spoon, tossing one to Sōma so he could eat his serving of Akira's dish. As Sōma and the judges pressed the spoon onto the naan, an aroma explosion escaped from the dish, enveloping the entire arena. Akira used the pot pie design to ensure that the impact of the aroma would hit the judges and Sōma with as much force as possible. As the judges picked out the dish, Natsume recognized that the secret spice used was holy basil, a spice that is not grown in Japan and is hard to cultivate. Akira revealed that he grows them in Jun's seminar room. Finally, Sōma recognized that he had used yogurt to make the basil milder and for the nutritional effect. Natsume was so impressed by Akira's dish that she offered him a lucrative job with the Haubi Corporation for any sum of money he desired, but Akira turned her down as he only fights for Jun. With his impressive dish, Akira was awarded a score of 94 and even managed to earn two perfect 20 scores from Natsume and Makito Minatozaka. While his final score was not the highest (that honor went to Alice Nakiri from Block "B"), he was the only contestant to receive perfect scores from any of the judges, something even Alice did not accomplish.
Immediately after Akira's judging concluded, Sōma stepped up next. Akira could not understand how Sōma, who had known almost nothing about spices a month prior, was smiling so confidently. Sōma unveiled his dish which was an omelet, not a risotto. However, Sōma took out a spoon and slashed his omelet, releasing an aroma bomb of his own while revealing that the risotto was inside. As the judging of Sōma's dish began, Akira was impressed by the dish and discovered that his flavor depth came from mango chutney. The judges felt like Sōma's dish went blow for blow against Akira, however, he earned a score of 93, one point less than Akira. Although it seemed that Akira got a decisive victory, upon closer inspection of the judges' scores, although Akira earned perfect 20s from Natsume and Makito, Sōma got more points from Shigenoshin Kōda and the two unnamed judges: therefore, if the battle had been a Shokugeki, Sōma would have won. Indeed, the judges had a small scuffle over which contestant made the better dish. Akira was unsure if his victory was as sure as it has seemed, but nevertheless, he qualified for the Main Tournament along with Sōma, Ryō, and Subaru Mimasaka, who presented after Sōma, stopping Zenji Marui and Shun Ibusaki's 4th place tie.
Tōtsuki Autumn Election: Main Tournament
Akira was present at the Arena for the first day of the Main Tournament. However, his match was not until the second day so he watched from the stands. After the first two quarterfinal matches concluded, Akira left the arena and walked past Sōma and Takumi. Later that day he was summoned to Tōtsuki HQ to learn about his match's theme as well as his opponent: Hisako Arato. That night, Akira laid out in a field, staring at the night sky. Jun found him and told him not to focus too much on winning. Despite her concern for him, Akira took her words as a boost to his morale and vowed to win the tournament for her sake.
On the second day of Main Tournament Quarterfinals, Akira's match was the first of the day. As he and Hisako walked into the arena, their theme, hamburgers, was announced to the audience. While they walked to their stations, Akira told Hisako to make sure that Erina was ready to give her Elite Ten Council seat and Tōtsuki's top to him. Unimpressed, Hisako responded to Akira's boast by saying that she will join the Elite Ten first to be with Erina. During the cooking period, Akira was busy at work piling meat for his doner kebab. Hisako presented her dish first and was well received by the judges, but as it concluded, Akira began to cook his first patty. As it sizzled, the aroma from it filled the arena causing all of the attention from the crowd to immediately shift to him. Akira told Hisako that there was more to food than just taste from the mouth.
Akira unveiled his dish, a Kofta Kebab Burger. Even though the judges had just finished Hisako's dish, they could not contain their curiosity to his dish after taking a hit from its aroma. A single bite from his burger completely engrossed the judges. Soon enough, despite the heaviness of his dish, the judges finished his burger before they could realize it or properly judge it. Luckily, Senzaemon had enough control of himself to fully pick out the secrets of the burger. Akira used Pita bread to contain the burger while sealing the meat's juices. Next, for his hamburger, Akira used kofta to make full usage of his spice knowledge. As Hisako stood in shock from the judges eating his heavy burger quickly, Akira explained to her that hamburgers have 4 main components: buns, the patty, the sauce, and pickles. He explained that a good burger utilizes all four and that pickles are used to contrast flavors and make the meat's flavor stand out more. He unveiled his pickle choice, achaar, which caused the fat and bad smell of the lamb to become a truly addicting flavor, explaining the judges' actions. Akira told Hisako that he was aiming for the top and was not about to be defeated by someone settling to be "No. 2", calling her will and her "world of cooking" too limited. Akira was declared the winner of his match.
Shortly after the Quarterfinal round concluded, Akira received word that his match for the Semifinals would be against Ryō Kurokiba and the theme of the match will be a western dish theme. During his week to prepare, Akira did his usual test of his sense of smell by blindfolding himself and tying himself to chair as he asked Jun to prepare a plate of various spices for him to guess. With extreme accuracy, Akira was able to discern the spices on each dish and even noted which spices were on the left dish and which ones were on the right dish. Confident that he was thoroughly prepared, Akira could not wait for his match.
On the day of the Semifinals, Akira sat in the waiting area as Sōma and Subaru began their Semifinal Shokugeki, ending with Subaru's defeat. Akira entered the arena with his opponent as their Semifinal match began. Akira immediately set off to work cooking his dish using duck as the base. During the cooking period, Ryō sneered at him, stating that he did not like that Akira was acting so calmly as they cooked. Although Akira admitted that his drive to win may not match Ryō's passion, he assured that his nose will ensure victory in the end, much to Ryō's annoyance. After cooking his duck in the over, Akira began to spice up his dish, but Ryō was giving a strong offense himself. Akira gave a confident smile as he proceeded to unleash a barrage of spices to complete his dish. Ryō felt like he was being attacked by a large pair of talons as if Akira had pulled him into his pace.
With his dish completed first, Akira presented his Canard Apicius to the judges. With a single bite, the judges were brought to their knees. His Canard Apicius contained innumerable spices, however, despite the sheer quantity of spices, each one gave the dish a different taste and feel with each bite. The judges were allured by this wonderful medley of spices which did not overpower each other, but rather, complimented and enhanced the flavor, something that Gin Dōjima noted could only be possible by a sense of smell as sharp as Akira's. Akira confidently declared that his mastery of spices will separate himself from Ryō, however, the fire from Ryō's eyes did not die out yet. Ryō presented his dish, an Eel Matelote. With a single bite, Ryō dish enticed the judges, feeling a strong impact from the dish. Akira was shocked to see the judges eating Ryō's dish as intensely as his own. After Ryō's judging was concluded, it was left to the judges to decide a victor. Unlike all of the other matches in the past, the judges were left unable to declare a clear winner. Hinako Inui and Fuyumi Mizuhara voted for Akira while Gin and Taki Tsunozaki voted for Ryō. With only Sonoka Kikuchi left to vote, she was still unable to choose a clear winner. Although an uproar nearly started, Gin quickly silenced the crowd, telling them that he understood why she was so indecisive. Gin proposed a special exception for the match. Declare both Akira and Ryō as winners and push both of them into the Final round in a three-way battle royale with Sōma, which Senzaemon allowed.
Road to the Finals
Immediately after the match, Akira was interviewed by the T.S. Newspaper club where he calmly stated that while he was not happy with the tie, he would shake it off and prepare properly for the finals. Satoshi then entered the arena, wheeling out a large block of ice which he promptly smashed to reveal the main ingredient of the final round: Pacific Saury, a fish that would bring out the strong points in each of the finalists, in Akira's case, his reliance on aroma which compliments the aromatic nature of the saury. Jun arrived in the arena to congratulate Akira with tears in her eyes, however, he told her to clean her self up. Immediately after, Ryō confronted Akira, calling him a one-trick spice pony, stating that with all of his cards dealt, he would defeat Akira and Sōma in the finals. Akira was quite bitter by Ryō's insult. As he left the arena, Akira resolved himself to show Ryō the true extent of his aromatic cooking. During the week before the Finals, Akira went to a local fish market to pick out the best Pacific Saury to prepare his dish. In the market, Akira went up to a single stand and bought two specific fish on sale just through smell alone. The woman selling the fish noted that those two were the best of the lot. Over the course of the week, Akira honed his dish, using a cooking torch on his intended dish. Although he hit a roadblock, Akira resolved himself to put his entire being into his dish for the sake of Jun.
On the morning of the match, Akira went to the fish market bright and early and encountered Ryō there as well. Although they both bought their saury for their match, Sōma was nowhere in sight. Unlike the previous matches, the finals were held in the late evening. There, Akira and Ryō brandished their gleaming sauries while Sōma brought out his saury covered with a mysterious brown powder. Akira told Sōma that he should be satisfied with his third place finish as a result. With the introduction of the judges: Senzaemon Nakiri, Gin Dōjima, and Leonora Nakiri, the roof of the arena opened, revealing the vast night sky. As the moon began to hover above the roof, the match began with its flight path as the match's timer.
Akira finished second, presenting immediately after Ryō. Akira brought what seemed to be an hors d'oeuvre dish; a carpaccio. Even the judges seemed confused by his dish choice, but he assured them that his Scorched Pacific Saury Carpaccio was the main course dish as he pulled out a cooking torch. After lightly searing his dish, the aroma alone caused Leonora to double over in ecstasy, even more so with a single bite. Curious as to how many spices were in it, Senzaemon immediately recognized that he only used a single spice: Allspice. With the usage of Kaeshi, Akira displayed great knowledge of spices, this time by controlling and manipulating a single spice rather than a medley of spices. Akira's dish appeared to win the judges over Ryō's dish, but there was one last opponent. Sōma presented his dish next and, despite his ingredient judging handicap, managed to perform well enough to cause both Akira and Ryō to sweat.
With no clear winner apparent, Akira, Ryō, and Sōma left the judgment to the judges. As they waited for the winner to be decided, Akira thought back to the day Jun adopted him. Although all three dishes were deemed equally delicious and showcased good judgment of ingredients, Senzaemon stated that the one determining factor was who could show their "face of cooking." Through their respective dishes, in the end, Akira's devotion to Jun resonated with the judges, ultimately placing him as the winner of the 43rd Annual Autumn Election. Victorious, Akira merely raised his fist into the air as Jun came down to congratulate him. Upon seeing her, he immediately hugged her, much to her embarrassment. After realizing what he had done, he quickly let go and walked off, reaching into his pocket to take out the cinnamon sticks Jun had given him to make him feel happy. Gin approached him shortly after, congratulating him for his victory, however, he cryptically told him to be careful of his overconfidence in his special skill. Next, Sōma approached him, asking for a sample of his Carpaccio. Although he was initially not going to do so, Ryō also asked him for a sample and he eventually caved in. As they sampled his dish, Akira told them that the match has determined the pecking order of their class, but neither seemed to care. Finally, the award presentation took place as Akira received a gold medal for his win.
Main article: Stagiaire Arc
Sometime after the Autumn Election's conclusion, Akira was constantly visited by Sōma and Ryō to evaluate each others' dishes, much to his annoyance. During one visit, Akira stopped Jun from giving them expensive biscuits before being forced to make another sample of his dish for Sōma and Ryō to taste. Afterwards, Jun informed them that the Stagiaire event would soon begin and warned them that, like the Training Camp, all of the students would have to make a "visible result" at the locations that they would be performing their Stagiaire, or else face expulsion.
Moon Banquet Festival
Main article: Moon Banquet Festival Arc
Shortly after completing the Stagiaire, Akira attended the Autumn Leaf Viewing along with the other Autumn Election Main Tournament participants. Sitting next to Ryō, who was aggravated that Akira managed to pass the Stagiaire with ease. However, Akira reminded Ryō about their disparity in the Autumn Election, then waited for the Elite Ten to arrive. As the Elite Ten settled down, he observed the event unfolded on both sides. However, Akira and the others' fighting spirits was kindled when Terunori Kuga explained the true power of an Elite Ten's seat and stated that the current first years did not give them any sort of reason to challenge them yet.
The next day, Akira and Jun learned that Sōma placed his booth nearby Terunori's in the Moon Banquet Festival. However, Akira already knew that Sōma would pick a fight with him. Soon after, Akira was approached by Alice and Ryō, who informed him that they would be working together and got approval from Jun to use her seminar, much to his annoyance. To make matters worse, Alice also declared herself the leader of the trio, then dragged both him and Ryō. However, when Alice vowed to defeat Erina and Sōma in the festival, Akira informed her that their shop was located on the main street, away from theirs. Over the course of the next two weeks, Akira and Alice constantly argued with each other about every aspect of their booth. However, during one instance, Akira was reminded by Alice that he needed to be cooperative for Jun's sake. On the day of the festival's grand opening, Akira and Ryō were unresponsive and exhausted due to the amount of work given by Alice.
Due to Alice's leadership, the Shiomi Seminar was in the red after the first day of the festival. They were reprimanded by Erina Nakiri, as all of the Autumn Election finalists were facing expulsion. Akira blamed Alice for the deficit, as she kept changing the menu and ordering new ingredients. Ryō told him that Alice would probably continue doing so during the rest of the festival, much to Akira's horror. He was extremely annoyed that Alice casually talked about the situation, even after it was revealed they were in the last place of the main street area. Alice scheduled a meeting after the Shiomi Seminar were still in the red after the second day of the festival. She suggested using a complicated method of molecular gastronomy for their booth, but Akira shouted at her that it would be too expensive. He told her that she should just drop out if she didn't want to think about the customers. To Akira's annoyance, Ryō asked him if he could talk while flattering Alice a bit, even if it was only superficial. Alice, however, realized that Akira was right, and suggested they should think up a new idea.
The customers were surprised to see colorful chocolate patterns on top of their curry dishes at the end of the festival. Alice explained that they used a 3D printer to fabricate the chocolate, something that should have been impossible with existing cooking techniques. The chocolate had a right balance with the curry dishes and gave it a better fragrance. Akira was pleasantly surprised to learn that the customers liked the idea, and the Shiomi Seminar finally made a profit.
Main article: Central ArcAfter the Festival, things were looking bright for the Shiomi Seminar as Akira's win brought a huge increase in their budget and a new joint project in order to push forward some of Jun's patents. However, this good news would soon turn sour as Azami Nakiri became headmaster of Tōtsuki Academy. As per his new doctrine, all clubs were forcibly shut down, including Shiomi Seminar. He was summoned by Azami to become a member of Central, an offer he initially adamantly refused. However, Azami brandished documents of the Shiomi Seminar research data. With all of their hard work in Azami's hands, a deal was struck. In exchange for Akira's loyalty to central, Azami would build a private research facility just for Jun to use. Willing to throw aside his morals for Jun's sake, he willingly decided to accept Azami's offer. During the Survivors' Purge, Azami scheduled a meeting between Central members when three positions in the Elite Ten Council became available. He allowed them to compete in a battle royale, with the final three contestants being offered a seat in the Elite Ten Council. Akira watched as the third year students defeated their underclassmen before Akira joined in the battle royale himself. He overwhelmed the remaining contestants, defeating at least four of them. Akira was one of the three remaining contestants and was subsequently offered the 9th seat in the Elite Ten Council.
Main article: Promotion Exams Arc
Soon after, the 92nd generation began their Promotion Exams at Hokkaido. Akira, as a member of Central, was exempt from having to participate in the Exams as a student. Instead, as a member of the Elite Ten Council, Akira participated as one of the opponents of the rebelling students during the third task. In his case, he faced Sōma, who was surprised to see that Akira had abandoned Shiomi Seminar. Akira, in turn, retorts that he had obtained higher power while Sōma was busy defending his dormitory. Now with even clearer differences in power in the academy, Akira challenged Sōma to see if his declaration at the end of the Autumn Election was all talk.
During the trial stage, Akira interrupted Sōma and Kuga's testing. Smelling the magnolia berries that Sōma was using for his test dishes, Akira revealed the Cajun spice mix he had already prepared. Sōma asked Akira why he looks so gloomy even after he got into the Elite Ten and his reasons for submitting under the Azami administration, especially since he has the power to fend off Central's soldiers as well. Akira stated that he didn't join Central for fun and games and told him the reason he joined Central was for Jun's sake.
Sōma asked him what does he mean by that but Akira refuses to divulge any further and requested that Sōma leave, stating this is just a stop along the road, not his goal. When Sōma finds out the reason why Akira join Central from Dojima, the chef confronted him by telling to stop looking down on people. Soma pointed out that Akira didn't bring himself to fight for the place he belongs and that he will not lose to someone pathetic. Enraged, Akira agreed to give him an utter defeat.
In the match, Akira and Sōma both prepared a variation of fried bear, walking the fine line between capturing the bear's flavor while managing its strong odor. Akira chose to cook his bear in the style of American fried chicken, pairing it with biscuits and a gravy sauce. While Akira's bear on its own was unanimously deemed superior, Sōma's sauce managed to close the gap between the two. With both Akira and Sōma receiving a vote in their favor, the tiebreaker was in the hands of the third judge, Sōe Nakiri. While Soe gave high praises to both dishes, he saw the face of a chef better in Sōma's dish, and deemed Sōma the winner. Akira was initially in denial that he could lose to Sōma. However, Dōjima pointed out that the lack of passion he put in his dish compared to the one back during Autumn Elections. Akira realized that without Jun beside him, he had lost the desire to hear someone say his food was delicious, and the drive to push his cooking to the limits.
Régiment de Cuisine
Beach Exam Arc
Main article: Beach Exam Arc
- Aromatic Cooking - Akira has mastered the art of aroma cooking, which is heavily based on the smell that his dishes give off to perk up the taster. Akira firmly believes that this art helps to further engross eaters into his food, concentrating on their olfactory senses to truly immerse the eater into his world of cooking. While the dishes smell wonderful, they do not lack in taste, bringing together a harmonious blend of smell and taste. Akira's cooking has further improved since joining Central and becoming the 9th Seat of the Elite Ten Council.
- Acute sense of smell - Akira's most defining feature is his acute sense of smell, which is somewhat similar to Erina's God's Tongue. He is able to cook his dishes "blindly" as he can detect any minute changes in his dish just by the changing aroma coming from the pot, thus he can cook without having to look into his pot. His sense of smell is so sharp, that he can pick out and name all spices on a plate from a distance blindfolded and can name their position on the plate in relation to each other. His sense of smell has been shown on multiple occasions, one such, where Akira was able to pick the best Pacific Saury from the fish market without looking at all.
- Spice Mastery - Akira has a particular affinity with spices, displaying a wide variety and vast wealth of knowledge of their properties. He is also well aware of how certain preparations of spices during the cooking process can change the overall flavor of a dish, even if the spice preparation was the only change. He has easy access to rare spices including Holy Basil, which normally is hard to care for and is not grown locally in Japan, thanks to his job as Jun's assistant, which he has no problem maintaining on his own. He has shown to be able to use a lot of spices and create cohesion, and inversely, use just a single spice to make a powerful dish.
- Doner kebab - A doner kebab is a Turkish dish made by stacking meat then roasting the meat on a vertical spit. After the dish finishes cooking, the chef carves off any excess meat. The process melts the fat and spices throughout the meat. Akira used this device for his Tōtsuki Autumn Election Main Tournament Quarterfinal Match.
- Kozhi Varutha Curry - Akira's signature curry dish that uses water instead of coconut milk to cook his curry chicken. Referenced from Tamil Regions of India, Akira's version of the Tamil-Nadu dish would consist of some fresh spices inside the dish.
- Advanced Kozhi Varutha Curry - Akira's improved version of the Kozhi Varutha Curry and this time the curry is actually made with water to make the curry drinkable without tasting the tense spice upon it.
- Goa Fish Curry - Akira's seafood curry which is made from swordfish or salmon.
- Naan Pot Pie Curry - Akira's personal curry masterpiece during the 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election. Made exclusively by Hayama, this spicy dish will blow your mind away before you even taste it! Covering with Roti Naan, this dish is made with naturally cultivated Holy Basil, a sacred spice that can only be found in the South Asian region. With the combination of yogurt, basil and rare spices that are never found in Japan, this dish will make you feel the sensational taste of the spice.
- Kofta Kebab Burger - Akira's dish for the Quarterfinal round in the 43rd Autumn Election. Each part of akira's burger heightens the others. By using pita bread as the buns, the juices of the burger spill out into the mouth. Köfta was used as the patty which is a turkish meatball and by adding several rich spices to the taste, the burger is consumed so quickly before the person eating even realizes it. The kebab was cooked with multiple spices and all the unwanted smells are masked by a homemade yogurt sauce. Despite the heaviness of the burger, the achaar are the secret condiment, serving as the pickles for the burger.
- Canard Apicius - Akira's dish for the Semifinal round in the 43rd Autumn Election. Based on the dish beloved by a famous Roman Gourmet called Marcus Gavius Apicius, this dish is a duck meat dish caramelized with honey. To highlight its power, Akira pulled out all the stops as he loaded this dish with dozens of different spices that made the judges melt just from aroma alone. A single bite sent a barrage of various flavors that melted even the Alumni judges like an eagle's grip, a true powerful hand of spices from the Spice King!
- Scorched Pacific Saury Carpaccio - Akira's dish for the Final round in the 43rd Autumn Election. Although originally an hors d'oeuvre dish, Akira used a hand-held blowtorch to unleash the aroma of Kaeshi used to coat the Pacific saury, also because of the kaeshi it can make it easier to be properly charred. Although he is known for his mastery of blending spices, Akira solely used allspice, creating not an hors d'oeuvre, but a full course meal. Akira shows the power of aroma "reduction" to show the full power of just one spice!
- Fried Bear - Akira's dish for his the third round of the Promotion Exams to Proctor against Sōma. This is a dish based off of the popular Southern United States dish fried chicken, substituting chicken meat with bear instead. Just looking at it's sparkling surface will make you salivate. With the gravy sauce, just a drop will make the diner it's pet. Combined with the bear it becomes stimulating and spicy, yet mellow and sweet. And by using his mastery of spices, he transforms the bear's natural bone stench into an highly intricate constructed tower of flavor! Overall it is a delicate balance between fragrance and taste.
- Shiomi Seminar This seminar served as Akira's residency, where he lived alongside Jun Shiomi. This seminar was closed after Azami Nakiri implemented the disbandment of all Research Societies and Seminars within Tōtsuki but was rescinded following the Rebels' victory in the Régiment de Cuisine. 
- Elite Ten Council (current) & Central (former) - When Akira Hayama joined Central due to Azami Nakiri threatening to shut down Shiomi Seminar, he also managed to earn the 9th Seat of the Elite Ten Council, besting numerous Tōtsuki third-years. After his loss against Sōma in the Promotion Exams, he lost his seat in the Elite Ten and Central alongside being expelled from the Academy. Within four months of the Rebels victory in the Regiment de Cuisine, Akira has reached the 4th Seat, making him the highest ranked second-year in the school (although it seems that he and Ryō are deadlocked for their respective ranks.
Cooking Duel Record
|Hayama vs. Kurobiba Shokugeki (Various)|
|Ryō Kurokiba||Various||Various||Win: Akira will take/keep the higher seat on the Elite Ten.
||Various - Of their 33 known duels against Ryō, Akira has won 17 and lost 16. It seems that they have flipped back and forth between the||17*-16*-0|
|Hayama vs. Nakiri Shokugeki (Various)|
|Alice Nakiri||Unknown||Unknown||Win: Akira will take/keep the higher seat on the Elite Ten.
||Various - Akira and Alice have sparred several times. It is known that they have sparred several times, with wins and losses on both sides.||18*-17*-0|
|Hayama vs. Kuga Shokugeki|
|Terunori Kuga||Unknown||Unknown||Win: Akira take the Third Seat
||Lose - Terunori wins 3-2 and keeps its Third Seat||18*-18*-0|
The 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election
|Quarterfinals||Hisako Arato||Hamburger||Kofta Kebab Burger||Win - Akira advances to the Semifinals|
|Semifinals||Ryō Kurokiba||Western-Style||Canard Apicius||Draw - Akira advances to the Finals|
|Finals||Sōma Yukihira & Ryō Kurokiba||Pacific Saury||Scorched Pacific Saury Carpaccio||Win - Akira Hayama wins the 43rd Annual Autumn Election|
Misc. Cooking Duels
|Akira Hayama Vs. Sōma Yukihira Promotion Exam Duel|
|Sōma Yukihira||Bear Meat||Fried Bear||Win: Sōma will be expelled.
||Loss - Akira failed to expel Sōma from the Promotion Exams. Consequently, Akira lost his seminar to Azami Nakiri but is offered shelter at the Polar Star Dormitory by Sōma.|
- Akira ranked 9th in the first popularity poll with 405 votes. He ranked 8th in the second popularity poll with 1720 votes.
- Akira, if written in kanji, can mean "bright" or "clear" (亮) - reflecting the childhood expectation that his talent would shed light on new territories of cooking. Hayama (葉山) is written with the kanji for "leaf" (葉 Ha) and "mountain" (山 Yama), a reference to his specialty with spices.
- Akira was the only known character in the cast to be confirmed to be married by the time of last chapter of the epilogue. While his wife remained unnamed, it was assumed that it was possibly Jun.
|Isami Aldini • Takumi Aldini • Daigo Aoki • Hisako Arato • Ken Dakekanba • Madoka Enomoto • Akira Hayama • Miyoko Hōjō • Shun Ibusaki • Takumi Ishiwatari • Urara Kawashima • Ryō Kurokiba • Zenji Marui • Subaru Mimasaka • Ikumi Mito • Alice Nakiri • Erina Nakiri • Nao Sadatsuka • Ryōko Sakaki • Yua Sasaki • Shōji Satō • Megumi Tadokoro • Yūki Yoshino • Sōma Yukihira|
|1st Seat||Gin Dōjima (69th Gen.) • Azami Nakamura (71st Gen.) • Kojirō Shinomiya (79th Gen.) |
Eishi Tsukasa (90th Gen.) • Sōma Yukihira (92nd Gen.)
|2nd Seat||Jōichirō Saiba (69th Gen.) • Fuyumi Mizuhara (79th Gen.) • Hinako Inui (80th Gen.)|
Taki Tsunozaki (88th Gen.) • Sonoka Kikuchi (89th Gen.) • Rindō Kobayashi (90th Gen.) • Satoshi Isshiki (91st Gen.)
|3rd Seat||Azami Nakamura (71st Gen.) • Tōsuke Megishima (90th Gen.) • Momo Akanegakubo (90th Gen.)|
Terunori Kuga (91st Gen.)
|4th Seat||Riko Ebisawa (70th Gen.) • Momo Akanegakubo (90th Gen.) • Sōmei Saitō (90th Gen.) • Akira Hayama (92nd Gen.)|
|5th Seat||Sōmei Saitō (90th Gen.) • Shōko Kaburagi (91st Gen.) • Ryō Kurokiba (92nd Gen.)|
|6th Seat||Nene Kinokuni (91st Gen.) • Alice Nakiri (92nd Gen.)|
|7th Seat||Satoshi Isshiki (91st Gen.) • Etsuya Eizan (91st Gen.) • Takumi Aldini (92nd Gen.)|
|8th Seat||Terunori Kuga (91st Gen.) • Julio Shiratsu (91st Gen.) • Etsuya Eizan (91st Gen.)|
|9th Seat||Etsuya Eizan (91st Gen.) • Akira Hayama (92nd Gen.) • Nene Kinokuni (91st Gen.)|
|10th Seat||Erina Nakiri (92nd Gen.) • Megumi Tadokoro (92nd Gen.)|
|Unknown||Jun Shiomi (73rd Gen.)|