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How Sushi Master Hisashi Udatsu Makes Smoked Otoro at His Tokyo Restaurant

It starts with selecting the absolute best tuna at the fish market

“You cannot cook delicious food without love,” says chef Hisashi Udatsu, owner of Udatsu Sushi in Tokyo. “I think I pour my love into everything I do, from buying fish at the market to the kitchen. No food can be made delicious without love.”

Udatsu’s father was a butcher, so he grew up eating largely eating meat. His love of fish came from his neighbors who owned a sushi restaurant, and showed him how to appreciate seafood. From then on, he knew he wanted to be a sushi chef.

Today, Chef Udatsu considers himself an expert at selecting good fish from the market, using his well established relationships with fishmongers at Tokyo’s fish markets. “My relationship with suppliers and vendors at the market is based on mutual trust, and we didn’t establish such trust in a day. They have known me long enough to trust me to make good sushi with their fish,” he says.

The dishes he is referring to are ones like shako, a crustacean that visually resembles shrimp, but is much different in texture and flavor, cooked in a marinade of soy sauce, broth, mirin, and sake. Other unique sushi and seafood dishes that can be found at Udatsu are asari clam cream croquettes, smoked otoro, and boiled scallop sushi.

“I think that sushi is an art in which the sushi chef can only use his hands, which I think is the best tool to integrate fish and rice nicely, and this art connects people’s feelings.”

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