Win one of five double passes to Jiro Dreams of Sushi!

by Forager on May 8, 2012

To be an award winning chef, one might not expect to conquer the culinary world in a day – but might expect that years of grueling training would arm them with an impressive repertoire of skills that allow them to create miracles out of any boring food stuff presented to them. In Japan, the opposite abounds. The Japanese seem to have perfected the art of perfection. There are numerous examples where the Japanese pursuit of perfection has far surpassed anyone’s expectations of “reasonable”. Ten years of gruelling training just to qualify as a soba master? Sure. That’s right some Japanese soba masters train for 10 whole years to perfect the art of soba. Apparently a few years are spent learning how to make the dough; a few more to knead the dough; a few are spent learning to cut the noodles and the remainder in cooking them. Ten long years – to perfect just one skill! Similarly, Japanese fugu chefs apprentice for 2 years before they are allowed to take a written and practical exam on how to prepare the deadly fugu puffer fish. For those not in the know – fugu fish contain a deadly neurotoxin (tetrodotoxin) that paralyses the central nervous system and victims that die from puffer fish poison die a slow asphyxiating death. So, the fugu fish practical exam apparently “ends” with the student eating their own preparation of fish, and you’d want to be a very confident student to undertake that exam. If that isn’t dramatic enough, if a customer dies from eating a fugu fish master’s preparation, he is traditionally obliged to take his own life.

“Dedication” is a laughable understatement. “Serious”,  “Obsessed” and “Neurotic” are perhaps more appropriate descriptors.

With that background it really comes as no surprise that the best sushi restaurant in the world, one awarded 3 Michelin stars has an 85 year old chef at the helm – in fact, he is the oldest Michelin chef alive!

Team Sukiyabashi Jiro

The team behind Sukiyabashi Jiro, with Jiro Ono in the centre and eldest son Yoshikazu Ono to the immediate right

Jiro Ono at work

Jiro Ono at work

But even with the highest culinary accolade under his belt, Jiro Ono is still seeking the perfect sushi – whatever that may be. Being “old” is clearly a state of mind as this sushi master works around the clock, demanding nothing but the absolute best from himself, his sons and disciples-in-training, his produce and the output of his restaurant. His award winning restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, is a humble 10 seat restaurant hidden in a non-descript Tokyo subway station and is frequented by sushi lovers hailing from all over the world, calling months in advance to get a coveted seat at his table and spending up big for the experience. So important is this man, that Japan has named him a national treasure!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is David Gelb’s film about Jiro Ono’s obsession and pursuit of the perfect sushi and in parallel shows the struggle of his sons, in particular eldest son Yoshikazu, to shine in his father’s shadow.

I first heard about the film when it opened in New York to rave reviews (including some from 3 Michelin starred chefs) and have been waiting for its release here ever since (review to follow once I’ve seen the film). To celebrate the film’s release on May 10 2012 – I am excited to announce that courtesy of Curious Distribution, I have 5 double passes to give away to readers of The Gourmet Forager!

Note that the film does have a limited release and will only be shown at the following cinemas:

Chauvel Cinema (Sydney)

Greater Union Manuka (Canberra)

Palace Centro (Brisbane)

Cinema Paradiso (Perth)

Palace Nova Eastend (Adelaide)

To be in the running to win one of the 5 double passes, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favourite type of sushi is (mine is seared scallop). Easy peasy!

And, the inevitable terms and conditions:

  • Entries must include a valid email address to enable contact for prize and posting details (entry into the email field of the comment box is suffice)
  • Readers are permitted multiple entries (as long as entries are different) but entry is only open to Australian residents and each reader is only eligible to win one double pass
  • Answers will be judged on creative merit
  • The double pass is only valid for a limited time from May 10 at the selected cinema locations mentioned above

This is a very short competition as the film is released on May 10 so entries close 10pm AEST Sunday 13th of May 2012 and winners will be announced on Monday 14th May, and will be emailed confirmation of their win. Passes will be posted out within 24 hours of receipt of a postal address from winners. Comment away and good luck to all entrants!

Tuna sushi

Inspiration (you know you want to enter this competition..)

Post edit review: I just saw the film and thought it was remarkably cute and enjoyable – an interesting mix between the camera’s loving adoration of sushi and an equally if not more fascinating insight into the Japanese dedication to mastering one’s chosen skill. Shokunin are titles given to master craftsmen and the pursuit of perfection portrayed in this film is at once both admirable and utterly foreign. I consider myself as one with a strong work ethic, dedication and not one to shy from hard work – but it’s clear I wouldn’t last a millisecond in this environment. The events that have shaped Jiro’s passion, the familial loyalty he expects from his sons and the shokunin training he inflicts on them is explored. Hats off to the shokunin of Japan. But not that they would accept those accolades, as there is palpable humility and restrain in all the characters. Overall a very cute and heart warming film.

The competition is now closed and the winners of the competition were judged by the Co-pilot to be:

Adam, Jo Wong, Chi Master, Aaron Newton and Alex!

Congratulations to all the winners! They will be each contacted for postal details and the passes sent out within 24 hours. If I do not hear from the winners within 5 days, other entries will be selected. Many thanks to all that entered this competition and happy viewing!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam May 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

When it comes to sushi, it’s so hard to choose…

You’ve gotta have some white fish like flounder – that delicate taste and chewy texture is a match that is hard to beat!
But then at the same time, you don’t want too miss out on the rich and thick flavour of sea urchin…
Also, I find it hard to pass up the full, oceanic flavour of bluefish like mackerel.

If it has to be just one? It has to be leatherjacket.
A piece of leatherjacket (“kawahagi”) sushi has three layers of perfection:
1. First, it starts with the rice with vinegar. That’s the foundation.
2. Then, you have the toothsome white flesh of the leatherjacket, with a subtle flavour that doesn’t blow out the rice.
3. Then, on top, you have the liver of the leatherjacket, with a slippery texture like oysters. That’s where the richness and real depth of flavour come from. It doesn’t need additional seasoning – It’s a fish that seasons itself.

It’s the combo of rice, leatherjacket flesh and the liver.
Light yet rich.
Chewy yet slippery.
Simple and perfect!
Adam recently posted..Kashin (Kyo-ryori)My Profile

2 pacman May 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Ika! (it seems just leaving ika is too short an answer for the filter so I’m adding this bit ;P )

3 sleepy prawn sushi May 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm

fatty blue fin tuna belly (toro) nigiri!

4 Jo Wong May 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm

My favourite type of sushi is with salmon that has been seared on top, although I should say that the best sushi is always the one using the freshest ingredients. The rice needs to be firm but not too firm. It has to have the right texture so that when you use the chopsticks to pick up the rice, it won’t fall apart as you put it in your mouth or dip it in soy sauce, and has a melt in the mouth feeling. The size of the sushi is also important, it should be one mouthful. Well, these are my opinions. I expect the film will shed a lot more light on the art of sushi. Thank you for another interesting post.

5 Chi Master May 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

My favourite sushi is the one I catch and prepare myself.

We all know that the freshest ingredients are the core of any sushi experience and being an avid spearfisherman I have no shortage of ingredients. Being able to capture, iki-jime, bleed and ice slurry my fish personally means i’ve had the privilege of sampling sushi from 100s of species of fish mere hours out of the water. Being in control of the whole capture, storage and preparation of an ingredient is something any gourmet nerd craves and makes any dish taste sweeter!

My absolute favourites include garfish (the sweetest fish in the world), sand whiting (you think it’s delicate cooked, try it fresh) and cobia (black kingfish). Flathead and Mahi Mahi is also superb!

I am not the most artistic sushi chef but i’m practicing my rice preparation and have invested in an expensive yanagiba (sashimi knife) to get those beautiful slices of fish glistening and just right.

Who knows, in 10 years people might be making a movie about me? :)

6 Aaron Newton May 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Having tasted a vast variety of sushi from a selection of great Japanese restaurants including ones from my recent trip to Japan, it is definitely a challenge to pick what really could be my personal favourite.

However, one does stand out amongst the crowd – The Lobster Gunkan-Maki, and it has to be the one from Makoto at World Square.

To be fair, gunkan-maki’s ain’t really what I normally tend to order. I prefer Nigiri’s. The Makoto lobster gunkan-maki however, is really something else. If you’re looking for an explosion of lobster flavour in a bitesize, it has to be the lobster gunkan-maki. Makoto has amazingly blended in the lobster meat whilst (as they always do) select the freshest. Oh and they don’t always have it on their menu, sometime’s you just have to test your luck!

7 Alex. May 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

In 100% agreement with the comments above, it is hard to pick a favourite sushi. However, one of the top on my list is torched scampi nigiri, with a dot of wasabi, and topped with tobiko. The smokey whiff and lobster-like sweetness of torched fresh scampi on a bed of moist hand-moulded rice, the savoury “pop” of the tobiko, the slight heat of wasabi, and a drizzle of soy – it all comes cleanly together into one very tasty and satisfying mouthful. Yum!

I can definitely do sushi for dinner tonight.

8 Erina May 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I love sushi! Soo healthy and delicious. However over the last few years I have learned about and become more aware of global overfishing and the significant impact it is having many fish species. I chose to give up eating some of my favourite sushi and choose alternatives which aren’t as damaging our ocean ecosystem.

High on my no-no list is hon-maguro (or blue-fin tuna) – a critically endangered species.
For those of you who are interested in some ocean-friendly choices, here are my favourite:

ika (squid), kaki (oysters), katsuo (bonito), unagi (eel), salmon, saba (mackerel), hotate (scallops – farmed) and uni (sea urchin).

9 Caleb May 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

Unagi sushi! :)

10 Jeanie May 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Having tasted a vast variety of sushi from a selection of great Japanese restaurants including ones from my recent trip to Japan..
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11 Nic@diningwithastud May 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Salmon nigiri – simple and delicious. I could eat those for days!

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