Like other culinary documentaries (Kings of Pastry
, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress
, Three Stars
), this film by David Gelb combines food porn with hagiography of an artist whose pursuit of perfection borders on the superhuman. Its subject is 85-year-old Jiro Ono, widely held to be the ultimate sushi chef, and Gelb, observing him as he presides over the subterranean, ten-seat Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo, notes his attention to detail (his apprentices massage octopus for 50 minutes before service) and minimal presentation of the finest products available (his rice supplier sells certain varieties only to him). The most interesting moments, however, belong not to the chef but to those who labor in his shadow. "Jiro's ghost will always be watching," observes one interview subect as he imagines Jiro's eventual passing and its probable effect on his 50-ish son, who follows in his father's footsteps but will never be considered his equal.
See our full review:
This tiny Streeterville sushi spot has big ambitions it might just realize