The Road to Becoming a Sushi Chef: Japan Vs. L.A.

In Japan, it takes years of work to earn the title of Sushi Chef. In L.A.? Not so much.

Dining Comments

Year 1: Your apprenticeship, AKA mopping floors and washing dishes, begins.

Year 2: You learn how to fillet small seafood like clams and shad.

Years 3 to 4: You’re promoted to shikomi, or food prepper, where you get to prepare some cooked dishes and staff meals.

Year 5: Now you’re ready for sushi rice. Congrats!

Year 6: You’re allowed behind the sushi bar, where you make only rolls for takeout.

Years 7 to 9: You have permission to speak to customers.

Year 10: A decade in and it’s official. Tada! You’re a full-fledged sushi chef.

Year 15: They let you run the restaurant—finally.

Los Angeles
Enroll in a 12-week sushi-chef course at California Sushi Academy. Tada! Get a job at Geisha House.

This feature originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Los Angeles magazine


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  • Danny

    The best thing I learned, living in America for the last five years, is that the American way is always the wrong way, ALWAYS!!!
    That’s why all the people who are successful over here are immigrates, so please don’t mock the Japanese way especially due to the fact that they’re the ones who laughing all the way to the Bank on your expense, along with the Chinese of course.

    • karl

      I think if anything they were mocking LA.