Sushi Heaven: The Daily Artistry of a Top Ginza Chef (Video)

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A lot of work goes into a serving of sushi. The skills of a sushi master include carefully selecting the fish and applying various techniques to preserve its freshness. We discover the fine cuisine of the famous Ginza restaurant Sushi Aoki.

Ginza, a short distance from Tsukiji Fish Market, is a popular gathering place for gourmets looking for high-quality food. There are more than 200 restaurants serving sushi in the internationally recognized Edomae style. This is the stage on which Aoki Toshikatsu tantalizes the palates of sophisticated sushi lovers as the second-generation owner of Sushi Aoki, having inherited the business from his father Aoki Yoshi, also a renowned chef.

Preparing the Perfect Sushi

A sushi master’s day begins in Tsukiji. Every morning Aoki makes his way to the market to test by touch whether the fish there is fresh and ready to eat. Tsukiji’s professionals show their respect for his uncompromising stance on quality and his warm personality.

When he arrives back at the restaurant, he immediately gets down to work. There are various techniques for harmonizing fresh seafood with shari, the vinegar-flavored rice used in sushi. These include firming up the fish with salt, vinegar, or kombu seaweed; lightly simmering it in broth; and marinating it in soy sauce.

“By buying the fish myself, I can establish what seasoning it needs and adjust the salt, vinegar, and other flavorings appropriately. I make shallow cuts in the fish so it will blend perfectly with the rice when eaten.”

Everything is prepared. Aoki stands in front of the plain, wooden counter, placing shari with his right hand on morsels of seafood in his left and squeezing them together in a steady, rhythmical fashion. An array of sushi, firm enough to pick up easily, but ready to melt in the mouth, appears before our eyes.

Aoki Toshikatsu’s world of fine sushi awaits . . .

▼Further reading
“Edomae”: A Fast Food with a Long Tradition Aoki Toshikatsu Talks Sushi Sushi Chef Aoki Toshikatsu: At the Crossroads of Tradition and Innovation Nakahara Ippo

tourism food Washoku dining Tokyo Ginza sushi Tsukiji Tsukiji Market fish