The Return of Seattle's Greatest Chef

Sit at Shiro Kashiba's Sushi Bar for a Lesson from the Master


Question: what makes a sushi chef a great chef? I love sushi and I definitely want to get some Shiro sushi but I've always been curious about the lionization of sushi chefs. Now, I can barely cook a Hot Pocket so I'm totally ignorant about the process but, sushi seems mostly about the product. Good quality fish on good quality rice is going to taste good, right? How does one sushi chef elevate it beyond another? I'm really curios what other chefs think about this. Enlighten me!
@1 I'm no chef, but after experiencing a couple of great sushi chefs I would claim the following:

- A great sushi chef is also a great fish monger. Outstanding seafood does not select itself. A great sushi chef is often times hand picking his seafood or spent a long time establishing relationships and trust with other mongers to get the best of the best.

- A great sushi is a great butcher. Excellent knife skills are a must. Exceptional knowledge of the seafood is a must. Knowing how to prep and age the seafood is a must.

- A great sushi chef has great attention to detail. The rice preparation, knife slices, item subtle as it all seems is well thought out by a great sushi chef. Many sushi chefs and Japanese will claim the rice preparation is potentially the most important skill of a great sushi chef (western pallet might not pick up on this as well).

- Lastly a great sushi chef attends closely to his customers. They notice what they like and dislike, make special items to their taste, maybe slips in an expensive freebie occasionally, and can hold conversation with customers. Now a great sushi chef will do all these and build rapport over time. So after visiting a couple times a great sushi chef will remember you, remember what you like/dislike, and continue to serve you special plates based on that increased knowledge. Think of this as something similar to an exceptional bar tender.

Just my two cents. Hope you find it helpful.

Thanks @2