Tag Archives: shokunin

Food in Films: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

18 Apr

The Japanese term shokunin is more than a foreign word. It is a foreign concept in America, a land of instant gratification. This is arguably even more pronounced in the culinary world, where diners use Instagram to snap photos of their meals, every culinary school graduate fancies himself a ready-made chef, 30-minute meal cookbooks sell like hot cakes, and cupcakes are a national treasure.

David Gelb’s classically scored documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012) peels back a few of the proverbial onion layers to show us what it means to be a shokunin, which loosely translates to “master artisan.” Jiro Ono is the celebrated octogenarian and subject of the film. He earned a coveted three Michelin stars for his 10-seat, toilet-free sushi bar in the Ginza shopping district. (The Michelin Guide of yesteryear was infamous for rewarding chefs for expensive restaurant upgrades, including toilets.)

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