At 88, Japanese chef Jiro Ono is considered the world sushi master.
His eponymous sushi bar in the chi-chi Ginza district of Tokyo is tiny. Located in a subway station with only 10 seats and no toilets for customers on the premises, Sukiyabashi Jiro nonetheless is the only sushi restaurant in the world to hold three Michelin stars. Reservations are often made a year in advance.
Apprentices spend weeks being taught how to squeeze out a towel correctly. If good enough, they may move on to how to slice an egg.
Already a legend among the culinary cognoscenti, it's the recent documentary by David Gelb 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi' that's bought the octogenarian chef to wider prominence.
Gelb’s film is an ode to perfectionism. From selecting fish in the markets at dawn to massaging octopus to washing rice, Jiro follows the same simple routine every day in his ongoing quest to ‘make better sushi’. It’s skill honed through the power of repetition. Apprentices spend weeks being taught how to squeeze out a towel correctly. If good enough, they may move on to how to slice an egg.
Jiro is the living embodiment of the Japanese spirit of 'shokunin', or absolute craftsmanship. "You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill," he says, explaining his relentless work ethic. "That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honourably."