How Women Are Challenging Japan’s Male-Dominated Sushi Chef Tradition

How Women Are Challenging Japan’s Male-Dominated Sushi Chef Tradition

In Japan, being a sushi chef is almost historically synonymous with being a man. According to a VICE article, a woman’s period and warm hands are credible reasons not to hire her.

“To be a professional means to have a stead taste in your food,” said Yoshikazu Ono , a male chef, to VICE. “But because of the menstrual cycle women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs.”

Nadeshico Sushi, an all-female staffed sushi restaurant, is actively challenging Ono’s simplistic excuse. For them, gender does not rank in importance at Nadeshico as much as personality and skill for sushi-making do. Ironically enough, the deep contrast in a male-run and female-run sushi restaurant is the reason why customers continuously come back to Nadeshico.

In the space, customers find chefs they are able to have conversations with, over food they can see be made. Most importantly for Yuki Chidui, Nadeshico’s manager, is that young girls see that if they want to become a sushi chef, they can.

“I always knew I wanted to take charge in this so that we can foster a generation of sushi chefs who will follow in our footsteps,” said Yuki Chidui to VICE. “Ultimately, I want there to be a sushi that’s done the Nadeshico way. I want our hard work to become a movement.”

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.