Ordinarily the Fast Food Critic talks about greasy lard burgers or the best ways to kill yourself by eating some scummy new “Pizza” from Pizza Hut, but I decided to take a different approach today.
I wanted to recommend the single best food documentary I’ve ever seen. It’s not a “Don’t eat this!” documentary (although I love those, and Food Inc. will change your diet completely) but one about the making of excellent food. It follows Jiro, a renowned sushi chef in Tokyo that is often heralded as the greatest living sushi chef, and holds the title of having the world’s smallest 3-star Michelin restaurant with only ten seats in his tiny establishment.
This is the first food documentary I’ve ever seen that I could actually call inspiring. It goes in depth as to exactly why Jiro (a model of discipline that would rival a Buddhist monk) is the best, how he trains his apprentices (at least ten years…before they can even make the egg rolls, let alone handle the fish), why overfishing is ruining the quality of sushi, and the long shadow he casts over his two adult sons who are hoping to inherit his legacy.
But, for me, the best parts just detail the exacting methods Jiro takes in preparing the food. The montages of the right way to make octopus (massage it for 40 minutes so that it’s not so rubbery, then serve it hot so it brings out the flavor) set to classical music are close to nirvana. I’m not a foodie, I’ve never cared to watch TV shows that deal with food, and I don’t really care what restaurants I eat at. So for this doc to make me care shows just how transcendent it really is. Grade: A