Thursday 7 March 2013

Herefordshire's @agaqueen previews Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The thought of watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi made me hungry.  The fact that I was to watch it my kitchen, in front of my Aga made the hunger pangs even worse!  So I decided to create my own homage to sushi!  Oh how wrong was I!  How or why on earth did I think I could even begin to compete!

True sushi is a work of art and Jiro is the master.  I loved the sensual way he stroked the sushi as the fish was formed in the palm of his hand to be placed gently before the diner.  I was surprised at the speed in which the diner took up the sushi with his chop sticks, devouring it in one mouthful.  I was surprised at the size of the mouthful! Then I learned the ever observant Jiro will make his sushi smaller for women and even serves it on the left or right having noticed the diners’ right/left-handedness! Now that is customer care!

Loved the bit where back-pack-man is told in no uncertain words there is no brochure and bookings are mandatory!  This unprepossessing restaurant lies in a basement next to a Tokyo subway station and its clients make pilgrimages from all over the world.  Bookings stretch months in advance.  With three Michelin stars, this is no back-street caff!

The film takes the viewer into the intimate kitchen where apprentice chefs will work for ten years before earning the accolade of “sushi chef” from 85 year old Jiro.  His older son worries he’ll never be worthy of his Father’s total approval in the world of sushi.  A chef can take years just learning to cook rice and oh what special rice is that.  Wait for the funny bit with the rice-dealer who refuses to sell to a local Tokyo hotel the same rice as Jiro uses on the grounds that it wouldn’t be cooked correctly.

The visit to the bustling fish market is noisy and boisterous much as markets are the world over.  Close your eyes during the tuna auction and you could be at Knighton sheep sales!  I mourned with Jiro as he spoke of the disappearance of quality fish. The over-fishing.  It takes 10 years for a tuna to reach 10 kg.  Net fishing and bottom trawling catch everything including the small and the immature.

Do enjoy the music playing in the background throughout the film……….

Conveyor belt sushi will never be the same again and whatever you do, don’t do what I did and try this at home thinking that in some way you could emulate Jiro! My only mitigation is that true to myself, I used local, seasonal, fresh ingredients: steamed cabbage leaves stuffed with organic UK spelt grain, parsnip and carrot with lots of fresh chopped herbs from the garden!

Carolyn Chesshire

1 comment:

RinkyDinks said...

I think this was an exemplary attempt at Anglo-Japanese culinary fusion. The cabbage was perhaps a mistake - perhaps you should try Welsh seaweed next time. Can't wait for Jiro Dreams of Sushi at 12noon on Monday.