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Why is there a scarcity of female sushi chefs?


Not About Food 20

Why is there a scarcity of female sushi chefs?

Flynn1 | Feb 26, 2007 12:18 PM

In Manhattan, there is a female-owned restaurant where the owner is also the sushi chef. The name is Taka Restaurant in the West Village on Grove Street. This got me thinking about why there's such a shortage of female sushi chefs.

I've heard that in Japan it's believed that women's hands are warmer than a man's and the salt content would affect the taste of the fish. This sounds like an old wive's tale to me because, logically, it seems to me that most men's hands sweat more than women's.

Here is a quote I read (link below) from Masa Takayama of Masa in the Time-Warner Building:

"Asked about the virtual nonexistence of women sushi chefs, Masa said, "Everything having to do with fish is man's work: catching, cutting, cooking, making sushi. It is very hard work, and women do not have the stamina to stand behind the sushi counter." All the sushi chefs I spoke with, and even Kazuko, one of the most self-reliant women I know, agreed. It reminded me of the old canard that women couldn't be chefs because they are incapable of lifting 15-gallon stockpots."

Do sushi chefs in the U.S. all 'catch' their own fish? It just seems a bit farfetched. So does anyone else have any ideas why there's a shortage of female sushi chefs. Personally, I wouldn't mind sitting at a sushi counter and talking/flirting with a female chef!

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