Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi"

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" is a documentary film by director David Gelb. It features the sushi chef Jiro Ono and his 10-seat restaurant in Tokyo. When the film was made in 2010, Jiro was 85 years old and working hard every day. His restaurant at that time had 3 Michelin stars and a long wait for reservations. His oldest son was second in command at the restaurant, while his younger son had his own sushi restaurant. 

The film describes Jiro's impoverished childhood, his daily life, and his relationship with his sons, apprentices, and customers. Jiro is given credit for innovations in sushi preparation, though I was disappointed that the narrative mentioned no very specific examples of his inventions.
The scenes of sushi-making are fascinating, as are many descriptions of
how the fish are prepared (some cooked, some raw) and the special nature of the rice.
Having just read a book about the Tsukiji Fish Market, I loved the scenes set
at the market and the interviews with the vendors who sell to Jiro's son.
Jiro himself stopped going to the market when he was 70 years old.
As the film wraps up, there's an acknowledgement that fish are becoming scarce,
especially the big tuna that are a central element in a sushi restaurant.
For my recent reading of Bestor's book Tsukiji, link here.

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