Things you have in common with a sushi apprentice in Japan: you both start the day in the bathroom. But as you move on with your day, that young apprentice stays in the restroom. Cleaning. All day. For at least a year. Then he might graduate to washing kitchen utensils. In the US, sushi is much less dogmatic, but the principle remains: you’ve got to learn to do one thing perfectly before earning another responsibility.
To observe the breadth of those responsibilities, we were invited into the kitchens of Uchi and Uchiko, two James Beard-lauded restaurants in Austin, TX that are deeply rooted in Japanese technique and reverence for the perfect bite, but throw out the rulebook when it comes to the strictness with which most traditional Japanese