One of the articles nominated for the 2009 James Beard Award is a WSJ piece entitled “Sushi Bullies: Top sushi chefs dictate what’s made and who eats it, and even eject dissenters. Why do the fans keep coming? Katy McLaughlin on culture clashes — and the California-roll taboo.” The article chronicles the work of a few chefs committed to the purity of sushi making and eating.

As a newbie to sushi and raw fish (I know, I know), I find myself guilty of all the behaviors these chefs malign…

“Dealing with American diners who are unfamiliar with centuries-old Japanese culinary traditions can be agonizing for some chefs, says Andy Matsuda, head of Sushi Chef Institute, a Los Angeles cooking school. Requesting fried soft shell crab rolls at a traditional sushi bar is akin to “going to your grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner and someone brings a pizza,” Mr. Matsuda says. Dousing sushi in soy sauce is like pouring ketchup over the entrée at a three-star French restaurant. Other offenses, such as ordering miso soup at the beginning of the meal, only add to chefs’ frustration.”

Sigh. Perhaps one day I will be ready to eat at Nozawa or Urasawa. Till then. Pass the soy sauce please.

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