Octogenarian sushi maestro Jiro Ono meditates on meticulous prawn preparation, massaging octopi and the importance of consistent innovation in filmmaker David Gelb’s mouthwatering paean, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The proprietor of family run restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro and considered by many the best sushi chef in the world, Jiro works every day of the year from sunrise to well beyond sunset, trawling fish markets for the finest ingredients, rigorously training his employees, and finessing the presentation of each creation. “What I saw in Jiro was not just his culinary technique—he has created an art form,” says Gelb. “His philosophy is to always improve your craft, to always look ahead to the future.” The smallest restaurant to have ever been awarded a three-star rating by the Michelin Guide, Sukiyabashi Jiro is a defiantly humble ten-seat sushi-only restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station. Its fabled year-long waiting lists attest to the devotion of its patrons, many of whom make pilgrimages from across the globe to secure a coveted seat. Underpinned with a melancholic score by minimalists Philip Glass and Max Richter, Gelb’s cinematic hymn to craftsmanship serves to highlight the almost religious reverence for artisanal “shokunin” expression embodied in Jiro Ono's practice, and his eldest son Yoshikazu's struggle to shine beneath his father's imposing shadow.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi opens in New York today.