Sushi chefs in Japan have always been men and this tradition continues to dominate. Many restaurants still do not allow women to stand behind the counter and make sushi in front of the customers.
For Yuki, the challenge of being a female sushi chef doesn’t begin with technique. It starts at the crack of dawn when she heads to the market to buy fish.
She is often ridiculed by market fish vendors for “playing kitchen” as they refuse to sell her any fish. Yuki recognizes the disheartening and brutal reality of the industry, admitting that while she “fought back against the criticisms and prejudice”, she still “felt inferior in her heart”.
However, Yuki smiles on. She believes that focusing on getting “more skilled and experienced” will help her achieve her goal: making a name for herself & her restaurant.
Yuki hopes to be upheld to the same expectations as men by going above and beyond: innovating a different style of sushi by redefining simplicity.
“Discovering sushi shook my soul,” Yuki exclaims. She believes that females should not try to be like male chefs, but celebrate their unique qualities and change the status quo with new ideas.
Many female sushi chefs have attempted at breaking into the industry, to no avail. Most eventually gave up, but for Yuki, the battle continues.
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