Sushi Chef: It Takes Years To Learn How To Make Sushi
Tetsuya Sakurai is one of a few select students who have paid $6,000 for an intensive training course in order to become a sushi chef in Tokyo.
“Sometimes I cry, but only when I’m at home on my own,” he says when recalling his training.
While making sushi seems easy, it’s far from it. It takes years, if not decades, to perfect the art.
“The best students will take at least two years before they can do this properly,” said teacher Kazuki Shimoyama.
“The slowest may take four.”
“It’s very hard,” says Sakurai a month into his course. “I train at school every day. Cutting the fish is like performing surgery. But what I really don’t enjoy is removing the innards from a shellfish. It’s really difficult.”
The class itself is taught very differently than any courses taught in the US, with a teacher student relationship resembling that of a private and his drill sergeant.
“To cut the fillet lengthways, pull the tail and slide the knife along. You follow?” yells the teacher. “Yes!” the group shouts in unison.
“Then cut each piece diagonally, making the tail end a little bigger. You follow?”
“Yes!” they reply once again.
“It sounds easy, but it’s really hard to make them the way they are supposed to be,” admits a student who gave his surname as Yamanaka. “The teacher makes it look so easy, but it’s really difficult.”
Learning to make sushi is a lifelong process. Even the best sushi chefs in the world are continuously working to perfect their technique.
“I have made sushi for 29 years,” said Shimoyama. “And I am still learning.”
Paul Hudson | Elite.