Jiro Ono: the 3 Michelin star sushi chef

If you would ever see Jiro Ono on the street, in a perfectly normal context, you could make the mistake to see him like a normal elderly man who is going for his daily walk. Instead, he is one of the few chefs in the world to have gained the three Michelin stars for his restaurant “Sukiyabashi Jiro” in Tokyo.

Chef Jiro Ono. Photo Pinterest
Chef Jiro Ono. Photo Pinterest

Chefs lives have always fascinated me a lot so I decided to watch the documentary about him (which I would strongly recommend to watch), entitled “Jiro and the Art of Sushi”, filmed in 2011. This documentary tells the story of this great chef, who is making sushi since he was 9 years old (he is now 92).

According to Jiro, a great sushi chef must have five unquestionable characteristics:

1) he/she should take the job very seriously and must run it at the highest level;

2) he/she should always aspire to improve his/her skills;

3) he/she must be very clean and so his\her kitchen;

4) he/she must be intransigence. A great chef is a leader, not a colleague. He/she has to be stubborn, and his workers must do everything in the way he/she wants them to be;

5) he/she must have a passion for what he/she does.

The menu offered in his tiny restaurant, located on the ground floor of a Tokyo tower building, has only 10 seats. It starts from 30,000 yen (250 euros) serving only fresh fish, bought every morning at the Tsukiji fish market.

There is no other restaurant in the world that has three Michelin stars (he is the older chef to have them) and its designed in this way. For Jiro, sushi should be treated like a chick, very gently, and the temperature of the rice, which should be the same as the body temperature, and the freshness of the fish are critical to make a good sushi.

Jiro sushi has to be eaten as soon as it is served and the menu of his restaurant is maninly divided into three distinct moments: the classic ingredients like tuna are offered at the beginning of the meal, then they serve the fish caught the same day and immediately used to make the sushi (some served raw, other cooked), while traditional sushi is served at the end of the meal. One of the most beautiful lessons that this documentary teaches, is definitely the mantra that Jiro has repeated to his children for almost the whole of their lives: “Always look forward, beyond yourselves. Always improve yourself, strive to perfect your skills.”


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