Thursday, May 24, 2012


Foodie-Central was given a complimentary double movie pass to watch JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI. I soooo wanted to go watch this movie but unfortunately I was not able to make it. As such I had given my movie passes to a foodie friend (who I had been nagging for ages now to be a contributor to this blog) in return for a post on the movie. 


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So I was given the opportunity to write up a post on a documentary about one of the most loved cuisines in the world... Sushi. Being about 2 hours early for show, I pondered whether or not it was too clich├ęd if I went to have Japanese food for dinner just to set the mood. I decided against it and went for pizza instead. It was really good but that's another story all together.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows the life of Jiro Ono and his quest for perfection which has finally earned him the title of being the oldest chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars. He is also in the Guinness book of world records for this. Now with a reputation like that, trying to book yourself in for a meal is almost as hard as getting a Friday night booking at Marque and only giving a few days notice. You'll need to call up the restaurant at least a month in advanced and also be prepared to pay roughly $350 per person.

85yr old Jiro is the owner of a small 10 seater restaurant in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. According to the documentary and from what I've observed, don't expect this place to look like it has been decorated by some young interior designer with all the things that Japan has to offer. Instead, Jiro has opted to keep it simple and straight forward. Simplicity is the keyword here and Jiro lets his food do the all of the talking.

From the way Jiro slices the sushi, shapes the rice, and wipes the sauce delicately onto his little masterpieces, it is evident that he really loves his job. You also have to give him kudos for his attention to detail. For example, the size of the sushi is made depends on your gender and after watching you have your first piece, Jiro will place the food on your plate either to the left or the right depending on which hand you used. His careful eye is not just cast upon his customers who sometimes feel nervous eating in front of him since he looks at them so intently as if they're re going to get scolding if they chew the sushi the wrong number of times, but evidently more so on his own staff. Apparently, Jiro's apprentices will have to spend at least 10yrs preparing the basic ingredients before they are actually allowed to make the sushi! Even then, it's not all easy going from there! Even after a 10yr stint, one of his senior apprentices who has practiced making egg sushi, had to do it over 200 times  before finally getting the nod from Jiro that it was good enough. He said he felt like pumping his fist in the air after hearing those words from Jiro.

The documentary also follows the story of his 2 sons. The younger one who has opened up his own shop at Roppongi Hills(prices are of course cheaper as he is not up to his father's standards), and the older one who understands that it is his duty to carry on his father’s legacy, and so patiently waits for the day when Jiro is ready to pass the baton to him. You have to respect the amount of filial piety he has for his father. Working for Jiro for over 40yrs, all the time waiting patiently to finally be able to run the show on his own.

The movie is peppered with advice from Jiro about work and life in general. 
"You must fall in love with your job" 
"if it's not good enough, don't serve it" 
"To prepare good food, you must eat good food".

If there is 1 theme that rings clearly throughout the whole movie, it's that one should never be content with mediocrity if one wishes to be the best in their field. Hard work pays off.

Jiro dreams of Sushi is a MUST WATCH documentary especially if you love the food and the culture.

The movie was released on the 10th of May in cinemas across Australia and is showing at The Palace Cinemas in Sydney. 

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