While perusing for sustainable food documentaries, I stumbled upon Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I had no idea the movie would strike so deeply in it’s illustration of character, persistence, and looking forward toward perfection, never back. My membership to Netflix began in 2006, and this is my first witness to a solid five star viewer rating, surpassing The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption. This David Gelb feature film debuted at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival wooing audiences with his chronicle of Jiro Ono’s unparalleled success in the culinary world.
Located in a Tokyo subway station, one could easily mistake the coveted destination for something other than it’s 3 star Michelin review. Yet, global foodies graciously front $300 per offering at the prestigious opportunity. Sukiyabashi Jiro is comprised of just ten seats and serves only sushi to guests who wait months for a reservation. Coming from humble beginnings, Jiro dedicated his life to continuing improvement by finding the absolute best ingredients, the best staff, and the best dishes and presentation. His unwavering momentum toward perfecting the art of making sushi is nearly overwhelming.
“You have to fall in love with your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.”– Jiro Ono
The film interviews rice and fish vendors where Jiro’s son and protege Yoshikazu buys daily from only one vendor, who sells exclusively to the restaurant. Jiro tastes every piece of fish and meticulously trains and supervises his understudies with unprecedented calm and dedication. He designs each meal as a symphony of notes in each of twenty plates, which change daily to showcase the freshest catch.
The director elegantly captures a thoughtful and meditative story of a man’s lifelong journey in sushi creation and his fascinating relationship with his sons. Gelb states, “What I saw in Jiro was not just his culinary technique – not just his work. I want to show people that sushi is so much more than putting fish on rice. Jiro has created an art form. And his philosophy is to always improve your craft, to always look ahead to the future. That is something that anyone can relate to.”
I only hope I can get to Tokyo in time for Jiro to bless me with his art.
Photos courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.