One of the best parts about my side gig over with We Love DC is that I get to interview and learn from a lot of chefs around the District. It's fascinating to tell their stories, to hear what made them move into the kitchen and whatever path brought them to wear they are now. I've always enjoyed the art of telling stories through photos, theater or in this case, written features, and I've noticed a particular fondness I have for telling other people's stories.
So it was no surprise that I was sucked into the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, story about world-renowned sushi chef and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, Jiro Ono. While I'm not going to review the film in this blog post per se, I'll tell you that if you haven't seen it you absolutely should. Sure there are the mouth-watering food porn-esque shots of sushi, with the flesh of the fish glimmering as the camera captures the slow-motion settling of each piece as it's laid down on the plate. But the movie as a whole tells the story of one man's dedication to his craft along with a glimpse into who he is.
After leaving the film there was a part that stood out in my mind, a quote from Japanese food critic, Masuhiro Yamamoto. He listed the five attributes to a great chef, which included:
1. Take your work seriously;
2. Aspire to improve;
3. Maintain cleanliness;
4. Be a better leader than a collaborator; and
5. Be passionate about your work.
I think that sums up quite a few of the chefs I've met in the last year or so.