Monday, November 09, 2009

Sushi nazi - All work is empty save when there is love

Unemployed, I'm trying to find how to do work I love. Speaking of work in "The Prophet," Kahlil Gibran writes, "For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

"... Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

"But I say to you than when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

"And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life. ...

"And all work is empty save when there is love."

Chef Kazunori Nozawa may not look like he loves his job, but TRUST HIM, he does. For a first date a few years ago, I was taken to Sushi Nozawa in Studio City, promised not just great sushi, but an experience. Chef Nozawa is fondly known as the Sushi Nazi, whose raw fish masterpieces inspire lunch hour lines winding out the door.

Sitting at the sushi bar indicates you are willing to eat whatever the Sushi Nazi puts before you, no questions asked, no adding of soy sauce, no removing of wasabi.

We sat at a table, and thus received dirty looks and a shaking of the chef's head, posed in front of signs and a couple of license plates that told patrons, "Trust Me." I shook my head, gave him my "I'm sorry, I'm scared" look. As the Wall Street Journal quotes Zagat, Chef Nozawa "makes the Soup Nazi look polite."

After we ordered our rolls and a few pieces of known, trusted sashimi, Chef sent over a tiny plate of the freshest, melt-in-my-mouth albacore I've ever tasted. Biting in, I looked up, a look of pure love and trust, and nodded. He nodded back, solemnly accepting our unspoken agreement. Next time I'll sit at the bar.

(Photo of the Studio City Sushi Nazi from WSJ.)

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