At Sukiyabashi Jiro – the subject of the 2011 cult documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi – apprentices train for close to a decade before being allowed to even stand at the counter where guests are served.
Years of gruelling, repetitive training goes into each task behind the preparation of sushi. While the once three Michelin-starred – revoked for being too exclusive – Sukiyabashi Jiro might be an extreme example, it sets the tone for working in most high-end sushi restaurants – an ascetic environment fraught with rules, tradition and hierarchy.
Given the language and cultural barriers, it’s a wonder that there are non- Japanese sushi chefs at all – and there are many who have overcome such challenges in pursuit of a singular cuisine.
We speak to three such chefs about their experiences.