Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Splendour of Sushi

The original plan of American documentary maker David Gelb was to make a movie about the many Sushi masters and Sushi restaurants in Japan. But once he went to the sushi restaurant of 85 year old Jiro, ate there and met with the owner, he realised the scope for an individual movie. Thus was made an incredible documentary titled Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Jiro believes in working hard, doing same thing day after day, mastering his choice of occupation and creating something better than what he made yesterday. We all believe in same things, but he lives his beliefs. The documentary is an ode to the working style of Jiro. Thus he made his little sushi place with just 10 seats located inside a subway, a three Michelin starred (it's a big deal, these Michelin stars) restaurant. You need to book a month in advance and the cost of the food is astronomical. They serve only sushi, no appetisers or drinks and a proper meal will last only 15 minutes. Still people love the place because the best sushi in the world is served there.

The best thing about the film is the frames of masterfully crafted sushi dishes made by Jiro and the exhilaration of the people who eats it. But what make the movie satisfying is the people who are behind the endeavour. Other than the perfectionist Jiro, we meet his elder son Yoshikazo, who works with his father. He has a tough time but he endures it in a devoted fashion. Then we meet the apprentices who are as devoted. Jiro's second son has opened another sushi bar, actually a replicant of his father's in another part of the city. It's also a 3 Michelin starred place. Customers who cannot bear stern nature of the master while serving, go to the soft mannered son's place.

We meet Jiro's suppliers who are as knowledgeable and passionate. Selecting the best catch of fish, fit for the best sushi bar in the world need such skills. The guy who supply rice has an interesting anecdote to share. Grand Hyatt hotel asked him for the same variety of rice sourced for Jiro. He denied them. He says Jiro is the only person in the world who can cook that variety of rice perfectly. What's the point in selling rice to someone who can't cook it..?

Jiro and team are really worried about what they feel is the biggest threat to them- overfishing in seas. They already are affected because day by day it's getting difficult to obtain the high quality fish that they need to sustain their name. Many exquisite species are already extinct and it's getting difficult to get replacement. Jiro and his son appeal to curb deep net fishing that indiscriminately kills even the non adult fish.

The movie ends with a scene of Jiro serving food to 10 member party. He does it like a conductor of a symphony, elevating the simple act of serving food to an art form. He is so skilled that he can synchronise his guest's timings by adjusting the size of the sushi that he carves for each guest. And while serving for left handers, he serves it right on their left hand to ensure their comfort. In the end he acknowledge the contribution of team mates who as per him has the most difficult job on the world.

Do yourself a favour and watch this movie once, it's worth every bit of your time.


  1. I have to watch this movie. Very niche restaurant. I too believe in doing things over and over again to master the craft. And also to do better than what I did yesterday. I post everyday on Instagram to learn the art of writing.

    1. Thanks for visiting Saru. It's a must watch movie.