Sometimes as cooks we forget that we are, in fact, service personnel; over the years, we gain experience, something which brings us higher-ranking positions. At the same time, customers know us, cherish us, trust our work, connect with our work, and, even more so, trust is established between a cook/chef and customer.
One of the people I most appreciate in the field and in whose presence I get to be a lot is the chef Boaz Tsairi, known as one of the leading masters in Israel in everything related to Japanese cuisine.
Over the course of all my meetings with Boaz, I have been exposed to a number of stories from the Japanese kitchen, and here is one that I really loved and which I thought would be nice to share—it shows a little about the trust between a customer and chef from a slightly different perspective:
Many of you have heard of the Fugu fish, which to us is known as the Abunafkha (puffer fish),In Japan the fish is called Fugu and is considered a delicacy. A dish can reach a price of $120. What is interestingly apparent is that the fish isn’t the most amazing in terms of texture and taste, so why in any case did the fish become such a highly demanded product? The reason seems to be that it’s an issue of trust—the trust of the partaker in the master chef.
According to tradition, at the end of the meal the diner and the master bow to one another in a sign of gratitude and recognition—the diner bows in recognition of his gratitude that he is still alive, and the master bows in recognition of his gratitude that the diner placed his trust in the chef.
In Japan, standard practice is that the appellation “master” is given to those who have studied the tricks of the trade for 7 years. After seven years he is called “master”—and only after that is the chef allowed to study and specialize in preparing the fugu fish. The expertise is long, and costs a few thousand dollars, mainly because of the fact the trainee has to clean around 100 fish before he is allowed to sell them and serve them to customers.
In the last seven years, no one has died of poisoning from consuming the fish.
Here are a few links that you ought to read and watch:
A link to the Wikipedia page
Two short clips showing the cleaning of the fish:
Thanks for reading,