The place where he stands, his cutting board the pace where he works and cuts his fish is what we refer to Itamae.
The sushi chef must have a perfect technique or the cut will be uneven and seem heavy in your mouth. He has to work with a concentration and know-how that has been perfected over many years. But not all sushi chefs get better with age. Many remain at the same level and literally no transformation of ideas. This happens too often and these days, and too many the young sushi chefs don’t get it. It isn’t always their fault, sadly many customers are lazy and this makes the chef lazy as well.
We all have to eat….right….wrong…it is these very tastes that are changing the way we think. Can a taste change our ideas in a way that is meaningful. I think so when you think in long periods of time. The evolution of ideas and the surroundings that we live in are those that influence us most.
So in modern-day sushi, t isn’t just the cut that matters, it is a process, a sequence of events that lead a sushi chef and distinguish his cut. An Itamae’s hands are his life, very much like a concert pianist. He can’t work if he has a cut on his hands, even if it is small and can be effectively covered with an adhesive bandage. His fingernails must be properly trimmed, always. He can’t wear any jewelery and his hair must be kept short and tidy at all times.