Categorizing sushi as a new food “trend” is somewhat misleading, especially because Japanese culinary history dates this traditional dish back to 1799. But the past few decades have seen it rise to an all-time high in terms of popularity, making sushi a widely-enjoyed dish all over the world, including America. As it becomes more popular, sushi also becomes more accessible, making appearances on many restaurant menus and even in neighborhood grocery stores and convenience shops. However, though it may seem that sushi is a relatively simple food, the quality and flavor of this Japanese dish is solely on the shoulders of one person: the sushi chef.
It is the caliber of sushi chef that separates mediocre, corner-store sushi from the fresh, flavorful sushi you can enjoy in a high-quality Japanese restaurant. So, what makes a good sushi chef? It comes down to a deep understanding of flavor, a penchant for culinary balance, and an unwillingness to compromise on quality – all of which come about through experience, training, and dedication.
Sushi chefs who are serious about honing their craft typically spend anywhere from 5 to 10 years learning as an apprentice in a sushi restaurant. In Japanese culture, sushi chefs are regarded with an immense amount of respect, considered members of an exclusive fraternity of sorts. The understanding is that a true sushi chef is one who has willingly dedicated their career to learning the art of sushi, preserving through extensive, years-long training.
Technically speaking, it’s possible for most chefs – talented or otherwise – to fashion a sushi roll from the foundational ingredients of fish, rice, and seaweed. However, a great sushi chef has several distinguishing characteristics that elevate the dining experience to a new level. Understanding what angle to cut the fish, how temperature can affect taste and aroma, the ideal density and texture of the rice, and how to balance each ingredient’s distinct flavors – these are just a few of the things an excellent sushi chef must master.
At Matsuhisa, our sushi chefs have dedicated their culinary careers to perfecting their craft, honing their skills and understanding of flavor and texture through serious training and practice. When you are a guest in our restaurant, you can be confident that every one of our sushi rolls has been created by an experienced sushi chef, resulting in an incredible harmony of flavor and texture. Experience sushi the way its earliest creators intended and make your reservation at Matsuhisa today.