Beautiful, though-provoking and engaging are some of the adjectives that I can think off best to describe this documentary. Its about the relentless pursuit of one man in his quest for excellence. Jiro Ono has been a sushi chef since he was 9 years old after being abandoned by his father. This is all he has ever done and known in life. In Japan there is a word, Shokunin,” meaning “artisan or “craftsman”. It stands for the Japanese philosophy of being perfect at your particular craft. Shokunin spend their lifetime in trying to achieve absolute perfection in whatever craft they choose and Jiro seems in every fiber of his being to embody this spirit.
He owns a very small restaurant in a subway station in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro together with eldest son, 50-year-old Yoshikazu. Jiro seems to have little patience for anything else than Sushi. The same can be said of his search for the best ingredients, because in this documentary its pictured very well how the best ingredients are always in unison with the greatest food. His son often goes to the market and it is evident that the people there care as much about quality as Jiro and his son do. Some of the fish and rice sellers even go so far as to only want to sell to them. Sushi being a very minimalist food, Jiro has taken his quest to create the perfect piece of simple Sushi to a whole other level. With his restaurant he even reached the highly coveted three star michelin mark, which was unheard off, before or after him for a Sushi restaurant.
This documentary is built up as e a two-part story. One part focuses on Jiro and the other one on his eldest son. This second part is especially very compelling as it explores how his son Yoshikazu deals with the fact of constantly being in his father’s shadow and is always compared to him. You see him struggle to just try and live up to all the outside expectations of him being just as great. Or what might even be worse, Jiro’s expectations of his own son to be as great as him or even better. David Gelb created a documentary that shows off the incredible passion, hardwork and dedication the best cooks have, and is surely not to be missed if you are anywhere passionate about food.