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What is something most people don't know about being a sushi chef?

Allow me to share a secret (well, it's more like a myth I suppose).

Sushi chefs eat less sushi than you think they do.

Many people (or at least those who asked me the question during my sushi classes) assumed I eat a lot of sushi. So, they asked me a question like, “What is the best sushi restaurant in the city?” or, “Which restaurant do you recommend?”

The fact is, at least these days, I eat less sushi than when I was starting out some nineteen years ago. When I started my sushi training, I was eager to learn, so I went out and ate a lot of sushi so that I could learn. I also tasted (not eating) lots of fish while at work. I sampled different types of rolls and different combinations of fish and vegetables, different recipes and experimented with the ratio of rice and ingredients. I continued this practice intensely for the first five years or so and then, I slowed down.

I learned a lot and felt I did not have to visit so many restaurants anymore. Secondly, I started to lose interest in "eating" sushi as a meal because, well, I was tasting and seeing it every day. If that sounds unbelievable to you, ask anyone who's been working at a pizza restaurant for several years.

I was at this take-out pizza restaurant one evening placing my to-go order when I saw one staff looking at a menu for Chinese take out.

He said, “What’s for dinner…”

I asked, “Why don't you want to eat pizza?”

“No, way. I tasted them all. No more pizza for dinner for me,” he shouted.

I completely understood and agreed with him. The same thing happened to me with sushi and I can assume the same (if not similar) to other sushi chefs.

I knew a famous sushi chef (been in the business for some thirty years) in San Francisco. My wife and I saw him at a Japanese supermarket on my day off. My wife asked him, “What do you go out to eat?”

“French,” he replied. He then looked at me and said, “We (sushi chefs) don’t go out to eat sushi, right, Kaz?” I nodded.


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