Do you like sushi?

garlichead

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I also think the idea of sushi chefs training for 10 years to become an 'Itamae' (sushi master) is very strange.
I just wanted to come back to this. Of course this depends on the restaurant and the commitment made by the apprentice becoming a chef that specializes in sushi. I worked with a chef who was Japanese and worked in a sushi restaurant before coming to Canada and where most of my knowledge, although limited, I understand better what these places were like to work in, and it's not all rainbows and ribbons.

Like any skilled profession there is an apprenticeship that is required and as it relates to sushi restaurants it's a lifelong ambition that requires expert knowledge from taking out the garbage, doing dishes and mopping the floors, and these are done specifically and no short cuts. This is true with every level within the restaurant an apprentice goes through. Basically your going to slug it out as an apprentice for 3 or 4 years before your even allowed to prepare any actual food, with rice being the first and even then for the first while it's just smaller amounts for training which could be months. This regimen ensures the dedication required and weeds out slackers very quickly. If an apprentice happens to excel and has some apparent talent, they move up more quickly. Basically most would be lucky to be involved with food preparation before the 5 yr mark. A sushi restaurant and all the knowledge required to be able to actually open a restaurant is mind boggling when compared to other restaurant types. And the reason most sushi outside of Japan is a compromise at best. cheers
 

Morning Glory

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I just wanted to come back to this. Of course this depends on the restaurant and the commitment made by the apprentice becoming a chef that specializes in sushi. I worked with a chef who was Japanese and worked in a sushi restaurant before coming to Canada and where most of my knowledge, although limited, I understand better what these places were like to work in, and it's not all rainbows and ribbons.

Like any skilled profession there is an apprenticeship that is required and as it relates to sushi restaurants it's a lifelong ambition that requires expert knowledge from taking out the garbage, doing dishes and mopping the floors, and these are done specifically and no short cuts. This is true with every level within the restaurant an apprentice goes through. Basically your going to slug it out as an apprentice for 3 or 4 years before your even allowed to prepare any actual food, with rice being the first and even then for the first while it's just smaller amounts for training which could be months. This regimen ensures the dedication required and weeds out slackers very quickly. If an apprentice happens to excel and has some apparent talent, they move up more quickly. Basically most would be lucky to be involved with food preparation before the 5 yr mark. A sushi restaurant and all the knowledge required to be able to actually open a restaurant is mind boggling when compared to other restaurant types. And the reason most sushi outside of Japan is a compromise at best. cheers

I researched this before posting earlier, so yes I was aware.

As a possibly crude comparison, operating as a fishmonger or butcher requires a lot of knowledge, for health and safety reasons alone, let alone how to carve, fillet, cut etc. But 10 years training would not be the norm.

In terms of sushi (apart from health and safety) isn't it all about the technique of how it assembled? Yet to me, it all looks a bit the same. Does the ultimate finesse of the assembly really make it taste so much better? Perhaps there is something I am not understanding.
 

garlichead

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I researched this before posting earlier, so yes I was aware.

As a possibly crude comparison, operating as a fishmonger or butcher requires a lot of knowledge, for health and safety reasons alone, let alone how to carve, fillet, cut etc. But 10 years training would not be the norm.

In terms of sushi (apart from health and safety) isn't it all about the technique of how it assembled? Yet to me, it all looks a bit the same. Does the ultimate finesse of the assembly really make it taste so much better? Perhaps there is something I am not understanding.
No, assembly is the easiest part once your there at that level, but very few are. As far as comparing a fish monger or butcher to a full blown sushi chef is like night and day. I think the problem is not experiencing a true dinning experience in a top sushi bar because the next level down from there is a different world altogether and it's really just rice with raw fish and vegetables and ginger and whatever. Each ingredient from a top sushi bar is treated in the same way as the fish and it comes together in an art form that few actually experience properly. I'm a decent chef with lots of experience and handle food better than most and know how to make decent sushi for most people but not even in the same league as a good sushi apprentice, let alone a sushi chef. It's a misunderstood cuisine because it's handled so poorly outside of Japan for the most part and people have nothing to compare it to. imo
 

JAS_OH1

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We’re going to a place today that serves sushi. I’ll try it and let you know what I think.




Hahahahha, no I won’t! :laugh:
They make vegetable sushi and also have some land animal (generally cooked in the US) types of sushi. So you could realistically avoid eating any seafood. And also they typically offer some other sorts of Asian dishes that have nothing to do with seafood. At. All.
 

Morning Glory

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It is perfectly clear to me that a true, Japanese Sushi Chef prepares food which is light years away from what we (erroneously) believe is sushi.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I still don't understand what the real difference is. What are the ingredients or techniques being used which make it 'light years apart' from sushi prepared by a top chef using ultra fresh fish and the correct type of rice etc? I'm not talking about comparing it to the average supermarket offering.
 
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garlichead

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I'm not saying you're wrong, but I still don't understand what the real difference is. What are the ingredients or techniques being used which make it 'light years apart' from sushi prepared by a top chef using ultra fresh fish and the correct type of rice etc? I'm not talking about comparing it to the average supermarket offering.
The same reasoning could be justified when referring to 3 star Michelin cuisine.
 

JAS_OH1

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One of the best pieces of sushi I ever had came from an "all you can eat for $25" sushi place in Austin, TX. It wasn't one of those conveyor belt type places with premade sushi or a buffet style thing, you actually ordered what you wanted to try, but they had a stipulation that if you didn't eat what you ordered you had to pay extra. At this restaurant you could order ala cart, you didn't have to select the "all you can eat" option. Anyway, this yellow tail nigiri was the most fantastic thing, the sushi chef infused smoke and very lightly charred the pieces of fish just before serving. And they were so fresh, so delicious, melt-in-your mouth texture. The chefs there did not speak English. The servers had limited English, just enough to do their jobs. Next time I go to Austin I will for sure be going there!
 

madebyyouandi

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I'm not saying you're wrong, but I still don't understand what the real difference is. What are the ingredients or techniques being used which make it 'light years apart' from sushi prepared by a top chef using ultra fresh fish and the correct type of rice etc? I'm not talking about comparing it to the average supermarket offering.

I can't speak for the states, but here top class sushi is about more than the individual servings. It's the etiquette at work in the restaurant, the kanji on the scroll hanging on the wall that corresponds to the season, the particular plate that's made for just that kind of sushi or the place where the fish was caught, and oh so many other subtle details that are part of the experience of eating sushi. The master opening your eyes to these details is part of the experience.

For example, the most expensive restaurant I ever went to used a real ice box because the temperature produced by it was "better for the temperature of the served fish" -- and the ice box was a beautifully handmade artwork with a story behind it.

So there are details that go into these long apprenticeships that I can't fathom but are akin to getting your masters from an ivy league. The chefs that "graduate" from an apprenticeship under a top chef have the connections to products, fishermen, and cliental that average shops don't, and so they can easily charge 500USD per person (plus drinks) and have waiting lists that mean you get to chose their guests.

The point I mean to make is that there is a reason beyond technique and ingredients that have kept these apprenticeships alive for centuries.
 

kaneohegirlinaz

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I can't imagine there is any guarantee that I would find 3 star Michelin cuisine superior to my favorite restaurant. One of the worst restaurant meals I've ever had was at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

CD
Worst meal we've had in a restaurant was a Wolfgang Puck place.
 
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