The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Jiro Ono, sushi master - Gérard Rubaud's Japanese kindred spirit?

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rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Jiro Ono, sushi master - Gérard Rubaud's Japanese kindred spirit?

Not drawing as long a titular bow as you might think! These two master craftsmen have much in common.

Rubaud bakes only one variety of mixed-grain sourdough bread, endlessly repeating his formula and process (while tweaking according to changing seasonal conditions and grain variations). By all accounts his bread is magnificent - the home version I (and many others here) have made using local flours and his formula/process certainly is. Farine has provided a series of terrific blog posts on Rubaud. See here.

Jiro is an 85 year old sushi master whose modest stool-and-counter establishment in a Tokyo subway station, Sukiyabashi Jiro, has been awarded a 3 star rating by Michelin. No other sushi establishment has been honoured so.

(NB: I'm not a fan of elitist food Bibles like the Michelin Guide - or of western food critics who rock up to an Asian country and start making pronouncements on purveyors of the local cuisine - but that's another conversation. While the Michelin Guide has put Jiro on the global foodie map, he has long been acclaimed in his own country and is considered a national living treasure.)

Like Rubaud, Jiro uses only premium quality ingredients, and has no "secrets". He is a master because he has single-mindedly devoted his life to his craft. The attainment of excellence through narrow focus applies to both Rubaud and Jiro. In Japanese terminology, both are shokunin - craftsmen who have become masters through repetition of process over many years (although Jiro has carried this to extremes, having committed 70 of his 85 years to developing his sushi-making expertise!!).

I became aware of Jiro via a terrific film, Jiro Dreams Of Sushi. It's currently running on limited release in Australia, but may have been released a few weeks ago in the States. Hopefully, it is still showing. If so, HIGHLY recommend TFLers seek it out. While sushi and bread may seem worlds apart, the similarities I have alluded to between Jiro and Rubaud point to much common ground. And while you will surely be able to pick up this little gem of a doco on Blu-Ray/video not so long from now, the drool factor of beautifully composed close-ups of utterly delectable-looking sushi on the big screen will be compromised on home theatre systems, no matter how high end.

Anyone who loves great food will love this film. If you're into sushi, it's an absolute must-see.

If you want further details on Jiro and the movie, I have written an expansive review. See here.

Cheers all!
Ross

Comments

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If I do, it'll just make the terrible sushi we have in Denver (no ocean for 1000 miles) that much more lamentable. :D

Here's the preview, though. His poor son! To live up that. How?

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

He's the one who served up the sushi to which the Michelin Guide critic awarded 3 stars! And his future is virtually assured. Still, in the movie the point is made - rather over-dramatically - that the son needs to be twice as good as his father to be considered an equal as a sushi master...

I already had the trailer embedded in my review, by the way, which is why I didn't embed it here. But since you've gone ahead and done so, Thomas, probably more convenient all round for those who don't want to put themselves through more of my raving...!

Seriously, folks, do make the effort to see this. Fascinating, and a sensory delight.

Cheers!
Ross

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Sorry about the double embed.

Links/URLs on TFL are almost the same colour as text.

I have to look really hard to find a URL in a post sometimes.

-

Feature request, Floyd: change the CSS for links to something that's more discoverable. Maybe bold or hover or some such?

Feature request 2, since I'm annoying you: change the CSS for new posts so that the red border that appears around them is 2px? 3px? I can barely discern the 1px red border for new posts, so I search the page for the text "*new".

Request to self: Sit closer to your monitor. ;D

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

his son was never very poor since his father is rich in so many of the great things life offers that you cannot buy, no matter how rich you are. 

At 85, his son might be 60 and has probably been doing sushi for 40 years already- all while learning at the feet of the greatest sushi maker and teacher alive.  At 60 he is my age and I retired 4 years ago.   My daughter wants to lean how to make sushi this summer, one of her favorites and she will learn at the feet of her father too - one that has little to no experience making sushi.

She is the poor one - No? Poor thing :-) 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

This is a question that you take away from the film. There are always costs to single-mindedly pursuing a calling.  Then again, some might argue that those with a calling have no choice but to follow it no matter what, if they are to live a life fulfilled. I think I'd argue for balance.

 

bnom's picture
bnom

I heard the director interviewed on NPR a month or so back and knew I had to see the film.  Naturally, I'd forgotten all about it until your post. 

You might enjoy a film called "How to Cook your Life," which is about Edward Espe Brown who was a baker/monk at the Tassajara Zen Monastery in California.  (It's available for instant download at Netflix is that helps).  Not a perfect movie but some messages that I think will resonate with those of us who bake bread.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I hadn't heard of How To Cook Your Life, but will now seek it out. Guess I need to start by investigating Netflix - one of those sites I've heard about numerous times, yet have never actually visited!

Cheers!
Ross