NIPPONIA No. 47 December 15, 2008
Special FeatureSushi! Sushi! Sushi!
Sushi Chef Apprentice Training: One Day at a Time
Generally, the only way to become a professional sushi chef is to learn the ropes on the job. Yasui Naoki (25) began working at Kizushi five years ago, but “My boss says it takes 15 years of training before I’m ready to work on my own, so I’ve still got a while to go yet!” Actually, Yasui seems quite cheerful about the prospect. These two pages follow him through a typical day at work.
Written by Torikai Shin-ichi
Photos by Kawada Masahiro and Ito Chiharu
Yasui Naoki says fish was one of his favorite foods when he was a young boy, and it still is.
Yasui is the first worker at the shop in the morning, and gets it spic and span before the more experienced staff arrive. Cleanliness is absolutely essential because much of the seafood is served raw.
Off to Tsukiji market
At the wholesaler’s, the head chef chooses fish with an eye honed by many years of experience. Yasui’s job is to bring it back to the shop.
Making sushi rice
Yasui quickly folds vinegar into the rice, taking care not to crush the rice grains.
Preparing the ingredients
Above: After removing the innards from an octopus, he kneads the flesh with salt for about 30 minutes. The more he kneads, the softer it gets.
Below: Yasui grates the ginger that will add zing to the raw fish and remove its “fishy” smell.
Just before opening
Things get hectic and the tension rises as the clock ticks toward opening time.