Jiro Dreams of Sushi

September 24, 2012

The movie of the week:  http://www.magpictures.com/jirodreamsofsushi/

I can’t begin to explain how great this movie is.  If you appreciate what a person can do with their innate talents, those who just luck into a job and strive to become the pinnacle of what they do, this is one of those movies for you.

This movie tells the story of Jiro Ono, the owner of a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.  He seeks to perfect his sushi preparation skills, and is considered a National Treasure of Japan. The film also touches upon his two sons, a former apprentice (who downplays the sons in a slightly smarmy way), his current apprentices, the tradespeople he deals with on a daily basis, and a restaurant critic.

You’re shown how Jiro prepares sushi, from the techniques he uses to the manner of presentation. Nothing is elaborate, simplicity is the guiding principle. Freshness is a mainstay and highlighting the fish itself the goal.

I loved this movie on the personal and professional levels.  I’ve learned so much about cooking, and now I’m seeking out the minute details of technique and flavor and striving for perfection.

Jiro’s top five qualities for a chef:

  1. Take your job seriously to achieve the highest level.
  2. Constantly try to improve.
  3. Keep clean!
  4. Be impatient.
  5. Be passionate.

I saw this first in a theater, but it is also available on Amazon Prime. (And apparently on Netflix, too).  Watch it! But try to pick a time when you won’t be distracted.

Chili When It’s Chilly

I’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to hear anything in my life. The diagnosis came after a long period of being shuffled around by doctors who thought I might have Multiple Sclerosis, which seems much scarier to me. Diabetes is something I can, and will control. I’m also excited. I’ve been slowly working on reducing my portion sizes and reducing fatty and fried foods in my diet. I’ll miss french fries from McDonald’s. In the past year, I’ve lost 50 pounds and dropped two sizes, and I’m about to drop down one more. I’ve been eating leaner, healthier proteins,; more vegetables; less salt; more herbs/spices; and fewer pasta, bread and potatoes. This past weekend I decided to make...

Meat & Potatoes

This year Dave and I discovered a new restaurant called Meat & Potatoes, a gastropub located in Pittsburgh’s theater district.  It’s small, kinda dark, and has a huge central bar, but it’s still comfy. When you walk into the actual restaurant you immediately see the bar in front of you, a small private dining room to your left and, to your right, a curved wall of mirrors and small tables with chairs on one side and benches on the other. There’s additional seating on the other side of the bar and outside. The decor is subtle and the music is loud but not enough to cover the conversation of the table next to you. If you feel the need to eavesdrop. So far we’ve dined there three times,...

Odd Craft Project

A few years go I was married to this Texas Guy, let’s call him O.D. Now O.D. is a great chef. His folks were into food, too — his mom cooked, and his dad ate. She was insecure about her cooking, but it was great! I don’t think she could have run a restaurant more complicated than a pizza joint or fast food place, but she had skills. Before they passed away, they gave O.D. their KitchenAid stand mixer. It had been rebuilt at least twice, and was barely squeaking by when O.D. and I split. He took the stand mixer. I miss that KitchenAid mixer, I loved the attachments. Even though I only ever used the sausage grinder. Before we split, I did a crafty thing to...

The Beginning

Lately I’ve been thinking of blogging about my experience being a chef, specifically, a female chef. I love my career, and though it hasn’t brought me fame and success, it has introduced me to some awesome folks, served me life-changing meals, and allowed me to travel. I’ll be focusing on the three aspects of food that intrigue me the most: cooking, food in the media, and dining out. I think about these things on a daily basis. When it comes to cooking, I can be strict about recipes and terminology. For instance, a Peach Melba is traditionally a base of vanilla ice cream topped with peaches and a raspberry puree. You could reinvent the Peach Melba in many ways: you could roast or grill the peaches, doctor the...