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Leaving yourself in the chef's hands.

The spirit of omotenashi, or hospitality, permeates every corner of Sushi Zen. The soul of the restaurant is Toshio Suzuki, the contemplative chef who has been masterfully preparing sushi in the United States since 1984, a time when few Americans even knew what the word sushi meant. The current sushi obsession has not altered Suzuki's approach to his craft: He prepares it in the same mindful and masterful way he always has.



It makes sense that an omakase meal, in which customers leave themselves in the chef's hands, is a nearly spiritual experience for Suzuki's guests, who gather around the chef at a circular table to witness the master at work. The chef originally planned to become a Buddhist monk and applies the same reflective principles of awareness and contemplation to the art of sushi preparation.

Suzuki began his culinary training at the age of 19 under the guidance of Tokyo-based Master Chef Nakanori. For the first decade of the many that Suzuki has committed to honing his skills, he adhered to the tenants of Edo. Created in the 18th century, Edo is a relatively modern method of preparation in sushi's thousand-year-old history, The chef then went on to study ikezukuri, a style of sashimi preparation in which the fish is so fresh it is still alive when served to the customer.

The fundamental principle Suzuki adheres to, no matter what incarnation his sushi takes, is it should always illustrate the beauty of Japan's culinary heritage. As a member of The Gohan Society, an organization dedicated to doing just that, Suzuki illustrates yet again his commitment to enveloping his customers in the spirit of omotenashi as he demonstrates for them the resplendent art of sushi preparation.

FUGU DISCLAIMER STATEMENTS: The term "fugu" throughout this feature refers specifically to "torafugu." the deadliest fugu variety. Torafugu is used for the recipes, but since it is Illegal to butcher live torafuqu in The United States, a less toxic blowfish species was used for

DISCLAMER FROM SUSHI ZEN, INC.: You (Art Culinaire) understand and acknowledge that the live blowfish used in this photo shoot (Instructional photos) is far reference only, and is not normally served in this manner by Sushi Zen, Inc, and will not be used for consumption. The distribution of live fugu is strictly prohibited by FDA, and cannot be used for serving in the United States Fugu can only be purchased by a certified distributor in the United States. Preparation of live fugu by an untrained chef can be fatal

DISCLAIMER FROM ART CULINAIRE: The preparation of live fugu by an untrained chef can have fatal consequences. The purpose of the pictorial demonstration in this feature is for educational purpose only, Art Culinaire does not promote the preparation and service of fugu by untrained chef The Torafugu is the only FDA approved organization fugu training and distribution in the united states Do not attempt to prepare fugu without proper certification and training from the TBAA

Contact the TBAA for more information at: Torafugu Buyers Association Inc., c/o Woko International Corp. PO Box 17865 FDR Station, 155 East 52nd Street; New York. NY 10022

Toshio Suzuki,

Executive chef,

Sushi Zen,

New york, Ny

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Article Details
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Author:Suzuki, Toshio; Zen, Sushi
Publication:Art Culinaire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2009
Previous Article:Fugu.
Next Article:Techiri fugu hot pot (serves 1).

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