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.