Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (2011)
WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE
According to one of Japan’s premier food writers, Yamamoto believes that a great chef must possess the following five attributes in order to become a master. Firstly, consistency. One must operate at the highest level and be able to do day in, day out. Secondly, improvement. Aspiring to better one’s skill is a must. Thirdly, cleanliness. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness, or so the saying goes. Fourthly, impatience. As in being stubborn and reluctant to change what isn’t broken. And lastly, the glue that will make everything stick: passion. One man has been able to master and teach all of these elements. His name is Jiro Ono, he is 85 years old, and he dreams of sushi. Be careful though, by the end of this review you might too.
But Jiro can be a tad stern. Customers often comment on the tense atmosphere he creates while preparing food. He is not a chatty fellow. In fact, he would much prefer that you eat at a steady pace and then leave. Fifteen minutes should do it according to Yamamoto. He rarely smiles probably because he was told that he had no home to return to when he was only 9 years old. What’s more, he even told the same thing to one of his sons when he “gently pushed him out” of his restaurant.
With a minimalist approach, he has created an establishment that has earned the prestigious Michelin Guide‘s highest rating: an impeccable three stars. Starting at a minimum of 30,000¥ ( roughly 390$ or 240£ ), a meal prepared by Jiro must be reserved a whopping one month in advance. Some people even go so far as to make reservations one year in advance to eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro!
Director David Gelb focuses his attention on the man himself, his two sons, Yoshikazu and Takashi and on the myriad of seafood vendors that comprise Tsukiji Fish Market. Takashi, the younger of two, has opened his own restaurant, a replica of his father’s design. While Yoshikazu is being groomed to become the eventual successor of his father and mentor, as is the custom for the eldest son in Japan.
The cinematography is superb. The pacing of the film is also excellent. The music? Brilliant. But what makes this one stand out are all the nifty little tidbits of information that you normally would never think of if you aren’t a top notch chef. For example, who hasn’t tasted a piece of octopus and thought:”Wow. I think I’m eating rubber right now…“? Jiro‘s solution? Massaging the octopus prior to its preparation for… get ready for it… 40 to 50 minutes! Now that’s what I call dedication.
This is a man who yearns for perfection. This is a man who only wants to make sushi and nothing else. This is a man who does not care about money, or so he says. Japan calls him a national treasure. He calls himself a craftsmen: a shokunin. His story is inspirational, entertaining and what’s more: it will make you wish you were sitting at his counter, revelling in the delights of his culinary prowess. It sure made me and I don’t even like sushi.
TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbV6knbeUFEJiro Dreams Of Sushi (2011),