Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Jiro Dreams of Sushi, 2011, USA
Jiro Ono is a world respected sushi chef. His restaurant is tiny, at only ten seats, but it has received three Michelin stars and is so popular that diners must make reservations at least a month in advance. At the restaurant, he serves simple pieces of sushi using the finest ingredients he can get his hands on.
The documentary was marvelous. Jiro is passionate about his work, and, even at 85-years-old, he is still not satisfied with the sushi he produces. He works constantly to improve his craft, and hates taking days off. His two sons are sushi chefs – one runs another branch of the restaurant, the other, Yoshikazu, works under the tutelage of his father and is slated to take over the restaurant when Jiro retires or passes away.
The film was beautifully shot. There were many montages of the food preparation and shots of exquisite looking pieces of sushi. I enjoy sushi quite a bit, but I also recognize how difficult it would be for me to visit such a restaurant because I do not like fish much. I have to wonder if I’d enjoy the fish served to me if I visited his restaurant. I’d like to think I would – after all, it’s reputed to be the best in the world, and it looks absolutely amazing. I also recognize that my palate is not quite as refined as it could be, and, perhaps the $300-$450 meal would be lost on me. It’s fun to think about going, though.
What I enjoyed most about the film was listening to Jiro’s perspective on life. It’s so different from my own perspective, and he’s a very admirable human being. He’s worked on his craft for 75 years now, which is hard to imagine. He was a fascinating subject. I doubt he’ll ever retire, because he struck me as someone who lives to work. Retirement might kill him, so I can see him working until he dies. While Yoshikazu does not have Jiro’s name or reputation, his own skill is evident in the film. I hope the restaurant is able to live on once Yoshikazu is the head chef.
Through the film, we get to see the fish being served go from the fish markets, to the restaurant where it is prepared, to the plate. I loved seeing the fish market and the vendors Jiro and Yoshikazu work with. The vendors appeared to share Jiro’s perspective on life. To them, working with Jiro is not a matter of money: they want to sell their product to someone who respects it and knows how to use it. They respect the seafood that they are selling and that same respect is shown my Jiro at the restaurant. While there were a few shots of live seafood being handled and sold, there was no shot in the film that disturbed me, because their respect for the animals was evident. It made me think about how I need to always remember that the meat I consume was once alive, and how important it is to always respect this fact.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi was a beautiful, delicious film. I might have to order sushi for dinner now…