13 Feb 2011

Sushi standards to be taught by cuisine masters

9:29 am on 13 February 2011

Sushi masters in Japan want to ensure foreign practitioners of sushi are up to scratch and are seeking to introduce a certification scheme.

Japan's sushi chefs are worried that poor hygiene standards are leading to unnecessary outbreaks of food poisoning, which are giving the cuisine a bad name.

The ABC reports there have been recent food poisoning outbreaks in sushi restaurants in Russia and China, two countries where the cuisine is a status symbol among the rich.

In a bid to help sushi avoid being branded a dangerous dish, Japan Sushi Federation chairman Tadashi Yamagata and his fellow sushi masters are introducing a certification scheme aimed at cleaning up the dirty habits of some foreign chefs.

Master Yamagata is the fourth generation of his family in the business.

"Sushi is my life. I make it with all my heart," he said.

Master Yamagata is proud this uniquely Japanese cuisine is being enjoyed around the world, but is not so impressed with some of the foreign interpretations being offered up.

"There are chefs who don't have the knowledge about hygiene," he said.

"Unfortunately cases of food poisoning are increasing. I want everyone - sushi consumers, waitresses, fishermen and chefs - to understand basic sushi hygiene."

Masayoshi Kazato, who runs a sushi restaurant and has been in the game for nearly half a century, says he will soon go to Singapore on the first stop of a sushi certification tour, before heading to China, Europe, and the United States.

"In some countries, chefs cook meat and fish in the same place in the kitchen," he said.

"There are things that make us feel horrified. We'll be going around the world to help train sushi chefs."