After being told “You have no home to come back to”, he begun his sushi apprenticeship at the age of 10 and has been working the same job ever since. At the age of 86, Jiro currently holds the distinction of being in the Guinness World Record for the oldest three-Michelin star chef and is regarded as a national treasure.
To dine at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seater restaurant that exclusively serves sushi, one must make a reservation up to a year in advance and pay 30,000 yen for a 20-piece symphony. The customers can indulge in his minimalistic creations within 15 minutes, making it one of the most expensive meals in the world.
This standard 20-piece meal, without the distractions of alcohol, appetizers, main courses or desserts, begins from mild to increasing complex tastes, guided by traditional. The egg tuna that serves as dessert is an art form in itself: One of his apprentice said that it took him months before his first piece was accepted.
In addition to purchasing the best fish every morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Ono also has a special rice-monger who only sells his best grains to him. His attention to detail goes as far as having his apprentices massage the octopus for 45 minutes to tenderize it and cooking his shrimp just before service. From seating arrangement to shaping smaller pieces of sushi for different guests, Ono takes every point of service into account.
Ono talks about how if he had Joel Robuchon’s sense of smell and taste, his level of food would even be better. Despite his age, he has no plans to retire any time soon. He is still in search of perfection.