Sushi chef training schools are popular in Japan, where students can learn nigiri skills in a short period of time. Nigiri is a typical style of sushi in which a bite of rice is lightly grasped and topped with sashimi. And it is the most technically demanding form of sushi. The number of Japanese people looking for employment abroad increases as a result of the weak yen, and sushi chefs, who can expect to earn high incomes, become popular career choices.
Actually, people used to think that becoming a sushi chef took a long time and a lot of hard work. There is a saying, “It takes three years of training to cook rice, and eight years to make sushi.” It means it is so difficult that it takes more than 10 years to become a full-fledged sushi chef. The trainee is in charge of order-taking, washing dishes, and delivery for the first year, rice cooking and preparation in the third year, making rolls in the fifth year, finally making nigiri sushi in the eighth year, and finally becoming an independent craftsman in the 10th year.
However, there have been increasing calls in recent years that they do not need to spend so much time becoming a sushi chef, but that if they learn how to make sushi right away without incidental tasks, they can become one in a short period of time. People say that a painful apprenticeship, where one spends several years doing chores, may not be necessary if one wants to start one’s own business as a sushi chef. Now, conventions regarding sushi are broken. Women were not allowed to become sushi chefs because it was inappropriate for them to handle raw sashimi due to their high body temperatures. But many female sushi chefs are active in the industry.
At the school, which trains sushi chefs in three months, students learn not only how to cook but also how to run a business, including how to set up a restaurant and obtain financing. Generally, artisans could not run a business and managers could not cook, but this school helps both sides of the equation. There is no way to get it back if you have been training for ten years and have not learned anything. Yet, if you give it three months and it doesn’t work out, you can move on to the next path.
Now that time is moving faster, the old rule of “you can’t go overseas unless you have worked in Japan for 10 years” is no longer valid. Young people are pushing themselves to enter the world on their own initiative, without letting someone else’s convenience influence them. A group of young sushi chefs trained for three months before opening a restaurant in Japan that was listed on Michelin within 11 months of opening. Since then, they have opened in Singapore and are expanding overseas.