Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a film about legendary sushi chef Jiro and his sushi empire, was aired at the Wing Luke Museum, and it was probably the best way to ever have viewed that documentary.
The Wing Luke Museum is a well-maintained museum in the International District, and it appears to be deeply involved in its community. The museum has a special theater room, and they screened the film there.
In addition to the screening, Chef Shiro of famous Seattle restaurant Shiro’s and a few other sushi chefs collaborated to make a plate of traditional Edomae sushi for each of the guests. A good thing too, because after watching an entire documentary about the challenges and opportunities of Jiro’s business and of the legacy that his sons will carry, the only thing one wants to eat is the sushi that one saw on screen. Shiro came to the rescue and served several of the items that were shown in the film.
Edomae refers to the making of sushi in the style of Edo, now known as Tokyo. Becoming a sushi chef is characterized by the long apprenticeship process that involves years of perfecting. Chef Shiro explained that there are other cities that have other styles of sushi, and Edomae sushi refers specifically to sushi created from seafood found near Edo.
The apprenticeship process requires diligence and dedication. Chef Jiro explained to the film makers that one should never complain and should dedicate oneself to mastering the skill. This belief played out in his own life, because he left home at a young age and could not go home if he felt he failed. So he made sure not to fail. He trains his apprentices and sons the same way, and the level of sushi that they prepare evidences it.
Having watched the film and observed the sushi chefs prepare the sushi samples, I don’t know that I will be able to eat deli sushi or conveyor belt sushi again. Truth be told, I’d only eaten those items twice anyway, but still. The art and value of eating sushi made by highly trained chefs makes me want to reward them for their hard work.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, watch it. It’s very well done and explains an attitude about sushi that is both elitist and realistic. It’s an enchanting film. After you’ve watched it, go eat at Shiro’s, because you won’t satisfy your sushi craving until you do!