In Japan, it can take a sushi chef years to graduate from making rice to cutting fish and a full lifetime before they helm their own sushi counter. But to folks who simply graze the conveyor belt for what looks good, what separates a master-level nigiri maker from the guy offering free spicy tuna samples at the grocery store isn't always clear. It is, however, what separates a good sushi joint from the cold case.
To find out what skills distinguish a master from a novice, we spoke with six highly experienced chefs: Tyson Cole of Uchi (Austin, Dallas, Houston, TX), Taichi Kitamura of Sushi Kappo Tamura (Seattle, WA), Yoshihiko Kousaka of Kosaka (New York, NY), Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Chris Clime of PassionFish (Reston, VA & Bethesda, MD), and Katsunori Kawaguchi of MOzen Bistro (Las Vegas, NV) about the secrets of their craft.
Here are their thoughts, from how to make the perfect rice to why a sushi chef is just like a bartender.