At almost 90 year old, Jiro Ono is a sushi chef with celebrity-like status who runs Sukiyabashi Jiro – a three-star Michelin rated restaurant in Japan. It’s not a fancy restaurant. In fact, it’s only a 10-seater located just a few steps at the Ginza Subway station.
The documentary gives a very personal and deep understanding of one of the world’s masters. A perfectionist that hold his standards so high that even his suppliers reserve him exclusive purchasing power for his tiny restaurant where meals start at 30,000 Japanese Yen ($334 Cdn).
The beauty of this film captures Jiro’s complete obsession with expecting only the best and striving for the top (wherever that may be) not just in his sushi but also in himself and everyone around him.
As a purest, he only serves sushi. Nothing more. One piece at a time. He will stand in front of you, watch you eat each morsel and then watch your reaction.
He intimidates even Tokyo’s most well known food critic Masuhiro Yamamoto.
Passion runs deep in Jiro’s veins as he describes his life and those who are committed to learning from him. He expects 10 years of learning preparation from assistant chefs before he even deems them worthy if they last that long. Each step takes great care and pride. And you can feel for his number one son who’s only responsibility in life is to continue his father’s legacy. At 50 years old, he’s still waiting to take over the reigns but understands that he’s got to be twice as good as his father to even be considered equal. The film is not only about food but about culture — and patience is something I’m reminded of often. I’ve always admire the patience of passionate people and after watching this documentary it makes me reflect on how I can do better, how I can have more patience like my parents have tried to teach me.
Jiro also speaks on how he’s notice a change over the year with good fish supplies. It’s sad to see that with the mass popularity of sushi around the world comes with an unfortunate price. But Jiro has noted that while he still demands the highest quality without compromise, the worldwide demand has driving the quality of fish down and the fish cannot reproduce themselves fast enough.
Food for thought.
If you get a chance to see this film, please do. It’s amazing! Here’s the official trailer…