- Sushi master Endo Kazutoshi looks at nine sushi scenes from popular TV shows and movies.
- His two restaurants in London are Endo at the Rotunda, in White City, and Sumi at Notting Hill.
- Endo breaks down movies such as “Isle of Dogs” (2018) and “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019).
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Endo Kazutoshi : Left-hand side, fish. Wasabi is this finger. Wasabi always put on the fish.
Hello, my name is Endo.
So, I’m owner and chef at Endo at the Rotunda in White City. I have been a sushi restaurant owner for 26 years. Today, I will be watching various video clips and performances of sushi chefs, and I will be judging their performances.
“Billions” S2E2 (20170)
I know this restaurant background, in New York. It’s Nakazawa. Yes, yes, it’s very famous.
Also my sushi restaurant in White City, everybody, 100% people using fingers to eat sushi. I believe that sushi will taste better for customers when they actually touch it and feel it.
Yes, ginger also palate cleanser that I made it by myself at home, and pickles as well, but that’s why it’s all on the side. Ginger is OK, yeah.
That kind of restaurant, my sushi bar as well, very close to the guests.That’s why, if you do like this, everybody watching to him as well. That’s like, you know, they embarrass, I think.
I really want everybody to switch off their mobile. Then two, two hour and a half, please give to me the time. Then we chatting together.
If in front of me do this, maybe I’d stop making sushi. They doing like a pool, like soy sauce.
Sushi put on the soy sauce pool, pushing on the top, then eating like that.
Tamago is one of the most important tasks in a sushi restaurant. It took me five years to get to it. First four years, I was mostly cleaning fish, making tea, and cleaning the restaurant.
It does not take 10 years, but it’s true that it’s something very important. But his point, of respect, that’s like, more everybody high knowledge than before.
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019)
Oh, nice sushi counter. Two many of the same menu is on the wall. Yeah, but different price.
What’s different? That’s squid, gizzard, scallop, squid again. But both squid is different price.
I think having a fugu license is very important, and I have one for Tokyo and Kyoto. You can’t cook [fugu] in a restaurant without it.
There are many kinds of fugu. There are types of fugu skin you can eat and others you can’t eat, but as a rule, you can’t eat organs. If you eat fugu with a little blood on it, it depends on the amount, but you could even die from it. Hence, you need to be really careful.
Basically, there is no problem if you touch it. However, there are public health regulations that say that we need to have a separate cutting board, knife, and gloves specifically for fugu.
This is the guts. You have to take off first guts. Because otherwise, cannot eat. The guts inside, I put in a box. Then we lock it, hide it.
The next day, the special person come to pick up. This is like, for me, it’s more fashion.
It’s no realism, unfortunately. This preparation is not perfect. That’s very, very dangerous.
“Gintama” E120 (2008)
Left-hand side, fish. Wasabi is this finger. Wasabi always put on the fish. No put on rice.
Very soft rice, how do you put on wasabi? Because if you put on wasabi, it’ll be pressure, the rice is broken.
Left-hand side fish, right-hand side to catch the rice. The finger using wasabi, like that.
It’s absolutely essential to make sushi airy, so you shouldn’t apply too much pressure on it.
Over 90% of sushi restaurants in the world, everybody using this. But some people using stainless. But for me, still, this is the best.
Some people one finger, some people two finger. I’m two. Always two finger.
There are different techniques, but what I learned from my master is the “hontegaeshi” technique, which is probably the oldest method. It takes five touches to finish making nigiri sushi. My master says it’s just the chef’s ego when they say it takes more than five touches.
Now, why is that? If you apply fewer touches, you will leave fewer fingerprints, and your body temperature will not transfer onto the fish meat.
That’s manga world, so I can’t really comment on that. Anything is ok in a manga. It’s very difficult for me to comment on that.
“Isle of Dogs” (2018)
It’ll be very difficult to remove bones from a raw fish. My father, my master, and I take out bones after grilling the fish because it makes it easier to remove them.
I don’t do one knife for everything, because no make sense. This is deba. It only just fillet fish. This knife is also using nakiri. Nakiri is for using vegetable. That’s vegetable knife. Preparation until service, I’m using, like, seven knives.
Each chef has different ways, but my master taught me to use a different knife for each ingredient. I have a designated knife for tuna, for white-meat fish, and for clams. Each fish, I’m changing knife.
Tuna is more longer. A fillet is more thick. But to cut sushi is more wider.
Maybe inside take the brown meat. The brown meat is, I agree, that’s amazing. I use in my menu spider crab in Cornwall.
I don’t know how to eat the legs. Maybe take off the inside meat. Basically, the shell has a whole lot of good flavor. It also has a strong aroma, so it makes a great broth when I stir-fry and then cook it in a dashi broth.
There are different ways to do this, so I can’t name just one. If I hit octopus, the cells inside get destroyed, and then when you cook it, since the cells are destroyed, the octopus is more tender.
In Spain, for example, they freeze octopus to destroy all the cells, which is basically the same method. In Japan, hitting is a typical way of doing it that has been used for a long time.
Many guests doesn’t like raw fish, but they want sushi. That’s a blowtorch. It’s going to be a little bit grilled. It’s going to make them more happy to eat. But I don’t use blowtorches. The main reason is the smell of gas. Fish meat is very sensitive, and even that little gas could change the flavor completely. I don’t recommend it, and good sushi restaurants I know in Tokyo don’t use them either.
It’s a great, interesting point, because in Japan, after sushi, on the top wasabi is never done. But always I came to London, since 2006, everybody say, “Extra wasabi, extra wasabi.”
The reason why, I don’t know how many passing sushi restaurants using fresh wasabi. That’s why everybody need more, more, and more. Because everybody using frozen powder wasabi. My restaurant using fresh wasabi I import from Japan. That’s why aroma, flavor, it’s everything ready. That’s why you don’t need extra wasabi.
“Dead Sushi” (2012)
It’s very common. It’s very basic. Yeah, it depends with the fish how much gram. Basically, fish is, like, 8 to 11 gram. That’s very popular. But that’s good.
OK, this way many guests asking me. Many sushi chefs explain how to eat the sushi. Everybody, the fish touch your tongue, the rice is up. But for me, it no make sense.
That’s why always I explain to the guests, my guests, it’s 45 degrees. No let it touch your tongue first, fish directly.
Because my sushi has a little bit of salt on the top, a little bit citrusy on the top. If touches citrus first, it’s completely citrus. It’s strong, too strong after biting as well to still keep going.
For me, rice, fish, in a 45 degree, like that. Eat biting two flavors together. That’s, for me, it more makes sense. This my father told me as well.
“Samurai Gourmet” S1E7 (2017)
So, they say that he ordered the maguro, which is like a sashimi, but random cut. First maybe take off the fiber. In the front there’s a big fiber in the white one.
The meat on the corner of the stomach or the bone should be removed with a spoon since there are no lines in it. Hence, when you eat it, the feeling and taste are refreshing. Another way to do it is to cut it into small pieces, but I think scooping out with a spoon works better for some parts of a fish.
Using chopsticks is better, yes. Because you won’t eat – it’s too much touch to something like that.
But also we have very important looks in front of the guests. Guests are watching us.
It looks nice. Looks more elegant. This is one of the ways. For me, always, wasabi on the top of the fish. And then soy sauce, and then eat. This is my way.
I just think wasabi, control the wasabi, how much put in wasabi, also soy sauce, like balance.
But that one’s one other way. I’m not complaining.
Mm, this is very, like, very realistic.
“East Side Sushi” (2014)
Chef: Eight parts rice vinegar, four parts sugar, one part sea salt. Eight, four, one, OK?
Endo: Stirring sushi rice is – Rice makes up 80% of sushi, so it’s a very important ingredient in sushi. Mixing rice vinegar is a very sensitive process. Hence I have to try not to touch the rice a lot and add vinegar while blowing air on the rice. To do that, I should stir as little as possible.
Chef: Cut the rice at a 45-degree angle. Mix them thoroughly so that every grain of rice is seasoned.
Endo: Mm, that’s true. Maybe more angle, I think. Little bit more. I teach my pupils to make a rice paddle as flat as possible and reduce the number of times they touch the rice. For me, if my staff do the same way, maybe I bring to the bat. Something like that. I’m not hitting, but I just give pressure.
Juana: I’m slicing this like the sushi chefs do. They cut against the grain. It would be a different story if she had a reason to cut a line like that, but it looked like she was just cutting it like that for no reason.
Endo: The lines can differ depending on the type of fish and the part of the fish. If you don’t know that while cutting, customers will not like the texture of the fish. I really recommend, if you make sushi, have your hands cold. Maybe very cold water, soak a little bit, like, 20 seconds, 30 seconds. It’s got to be cold. That’s maybe better. And also before touch rice, little bit water, wet hand, then touching better. This is like, for me, very true because this is beginner.
“The Sopranos” S6E1 (2006)
That’s quite interesting, because my restaurant is omakase. It’s 20 courses. And then between sushi is small kind of bite and hot food. Because too much rice is quite full.
That’s why always I’m thinking total balance. He eating quick.
Also I don’t recommend. Eat quick, yes, but this is too quick. Basically, my sushi is three-second maximum. Because all single sushi, I control temperature. Mine is one by one.
That’s why maybe some people watching my Instagram know my sushi photo.
Because I always say, “Eat quick, eat quick.” But that one’s already put on a plate.
All the sushi, it’s all ready. No need to control temperature.
Because this scene is very common outside of Japan.
For me, impossible. This is kind of like a next, [laughs] next generation. Like next step, next level, you know?
Very important which knife is good for you. I never buy internet knife. There’s no point.
Always touching, feeling, because knife is always kind of my extension of the arm.
I live overseas, so it’s difficult for me to go to Japan and buy knives. However, I just don’t trust online shopping. I think it’s best to see and feel the actual knife with your own hands.
For example, there are 100 or 200 kinds of willow blade knives, so when you need to choose one of them, I think it’s better to feel it and touch it yourself and then buy it.
I’ve been in this for 26 years, so I won’t be satisfied with a ready-made knife. I’ve been in this for 26 years, so I won’t be satisfied with a ready-made knife. Most of my knives are custom-made. They’re made in Osaka and Kyoto. I can’t do many comment, but [laughs] it’s very difficult judgment, to be honest.