Today I want to talk about Jiro, a sushi shokunin. The meaning of shokunin is craftsman or artisan as my mum told me. This post is about Jiro the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro a sushi restaurant which earned three Michelin stars in 2008. Last week I watched a documentary film about Jiro with my mum. Jiro is more than a shokunin. He's a sushi master. Even Joel Robuchon, the French chef said that Jiro is one of the best chef in the world. In the documentary ''Jiro dreams of sushi'' you can see that making sushi is an art and Jiro is the best. link
Here is a list of ''the five attributes of a great chef'' by the Japanese food critic Yamamoto.
Take your work seriously
Aspire to improve
Be a better leader than a collaborator
Be passionate about your work link
And I think that Jiro is exactly like that. Jiro is now 85 years old and he says that he doesn't plan to retire. The meals at Jiro's only revolve around sushi and they buy there fish at the famous Tsukiji fish market. To eat at his restaurant you have to book at least a year in advance and it costs minimum 30.000 yen.
I noticed that at Jiro customers were eating with their fingers. Apparently, it is because originally Japanese used to eat sushi with their fingers bacause sushi shops were close to onsens and people used to eat them just after a bath. It was kind of street food.
Jiro is always looking at ways to do better sushi. He said that for the sushi with octopus he decided to massage the octopus for one hour before cooking it. He said because of that it tastes better. Jiro also dreams about sushi. He always want to do better sushi it is why he doesn't want to retire. It is sad for his eldest son because he is already old but he cannot be the real chef of the restaurant. But when the Michelin came to the restaurant it was actually him who made the sushi that day.
Jiro is very modest but he is always criticizing himself thinking that he can do better. His two sons graduated high school and then began being an apprentice for there father. To become a sushi shokunin you have to train at least 10 years. In the documentary there was not any woman apprentice because it is a really difficult and physical work. It is so difficult that most apprentice stay only one day. In the movie, one of the apprentice said that it took him months to do the Japanese rolled omelette (dashimaki tamago) that you do some sushi with. All the time Jiro was not happy and keep on trowing it what he did. One day he finally did it right. He was so happy that he cried. My mum also told me that some Japanese think that women cannot be sushi shokunin because their temperature is too high and they can spoil the fish.
It is a really good movie. If you love sushi you should watch it. It is in Japanese with English subtitles. The subtitles were not that good and with my mum we have to check sometimes what they said because they were differences between the Japanese and the English translation. Also when you look at Jiro's work you realize that you never ate real sushi. I ate really good sushi at the Tsukiji fish market but I really want to go to Jiro restaurant or at his son restaurant in Roppongi.