Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Sushi food porn. Visual umami. Fascinating documentary about a master chef dedicated to his craft. His passion and beliefs translates clearly to the audience. But the cynical audience may suspect how much of the documentary was made to introduce the world to Jiro, and how much of it was a selfish publicity to pave the future for his sons because you do get the feeling throughout that the restaurant's future is perpetually in doubt. The producers have also conveniently left out certain facts in their depiction of the godfather of sushi: if you don't speak Japanese you can rarely get a reservation to the main branch (you'll be relegated to the less-starred Roppongi branch); if you don't have a local to bring you in, Jiro won't serve you (though latest news have mentioned it is now more lax). Nonetheless, Jiro's wisdom and dedication is the true star of the docu. It's true that one needs a sensitive palate to create delicious food. Without being able to distinguish good food, one cannot be trusted to create exceptional food. It is the firm believe to always look above and beyond oneself that allows for growth, development and excellency. The producers/director chose an excellent accompanying score to underline the narrative: a mixture of classics by Tchaikovsky and Mozart with modern Phillip Glass (mainly from his Oscar-nominated "The Hours" OST). The closest we have to exceptional, umami-inducing sushi here is Shinji. Can't wait to eat at Jiro next year! A personal aside regarding the Michelin food guide. Their one- or two-starred restaurants are generally hit-or-miss, but their three-starred ones are almost always dazzling exceptional, L'Osier (Tokyo), Enoteca Picchiori (Florence) and L'Astrance (Paris) comes to mind, although the ones in Hong Kong (Caprice, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo di Umberto Bombana) were definitely on a different (read: lower) three-star level; Caprice, in particular, was a definite head--scratcher!

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