The idea that an apprentice chef would intentionally sign up for a course of study that would not allow them to handle any food until after at least two years, is indeed, an odd one to most American diners, but for sushi chefs, it is both expected and normal.
The total training time for sushi chefs, both in foreign countries and in America, can last for at least five years and often as long as 10: cooking rice is allowed after the first few years, once the apprentice can be trusted with the restaurant’s secret rice recipe.
Worldwide, there are well over 60,000 sushi restaurants. Some local sushi restaurants even have themes, like underwater paradise, earthquake disaster, and there is even one that is themed like a jail, to the delight of its patrons. A unique restaurant should always have the capacity to thrill diners: in some parts of the world, the word “sushi” is synonymous with food and entertainment and a night spent with friends.
What most sushi aficionados are not aware of is the extensive training, precise selection of ingredients, daily knife honing, and the lifelong dedication of sushi chefs, from apprentices all the way up to master chefs. Only about 20,000 people work in fine sushi restaurants around the world, and competition for top positions can be intense for aspiring master chefs.
Many master sushi chefs are very willing to make “tasting menus” for frequent customers, specialized multi-course dinners that focus on fresh ingredients. Chef’s choice can be an exciting option for devoted sushi enthusiasts, and many customers who are aware of chefs’ skill do ask for a personalized, locally-sourced menu and are passionate about eating fresh seafood.
Sushi consumption seems to be on a steady upswing worldwide; diners who are looking for a unique restaurant experience report being willing to try new dishes, citing high-quality ingredients and dedicated staff who are eager to serve.