Wednesday, June 3, 2015


The last few days I have been thinking about how many times I have heard or read stories about how people have devoted their lives to perfecting their craft. In reading the stories of now renowned chefs, I have heard their reflections on how those who mentored them would have them devote blocks of time to preparing a single vegetable. For example, months spend learning how to properly clean an artichoke. People who are renowned for what they do in life, are so because they have devoted their life to perfecting their craft. In the process of trying to find some examples to share about the importance of devotion to the process of cooking, and in reality anything in our lives, I came upon this article about Jiro Ono. This story about him and his devotion is inspiring and carries valuable lessons for each of us, encouraging each of us to become devoted to being the best we can be with the talents we have been given, regardless of what we do.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary on the life and craft of the great 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono who owns a tiny 10-seat shop in Tokyo that has the highest Michelin Guide rating of three stars.
To get a seat you must make a reservation months in advance. The courses are carefully planned and the creation and serving of the meal is a multi-course symphony of sushi that some guests have even described as “stressful” yet an experience like no other. Jiro himself serves each course to his guests and carefully examines their faces as they taste his elegant works of edible art. What follows is the wisdom distilled from the great sushi chef on how to master your craft.
1. Learn from the best. Sometimes you must learn to fail before you learn to succeed.
Yamamoto, a renowned Japanese food writer, says: “When you work for Jiro, he teaches you for free. But, you have to endure ten years of training. If you persevere for ten years you will acquire the skills to be recognized as a first-rate chef.”
In Jiro’s restaurant, many apprentices do not make it to the next level. Yet there are those who persevere. For example, one of the apprentice sushi chefs tried over 400 times to make egg sushi that met Jiro’s standards of being worthy to be served. When he finally received Jiro’s approval, he was overwhelmed with joy and cried.
Take away lesson: Only when you understand what it feels like to fail and try again will you be able to cherish the moment when you achieve success.
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