Commonalities Between Sushi Chefs And Swimmers

Commonalities Between Sushi Chefs And Swimmers

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Peanut butter and jelly go together. So does beer and snacks as do bacon and eggs. But the commonalities between master sushi chefs do not always bring to mind open water swimmers.

But key attributes of master sushi chefs reminds us of the essential characteristics commonly shown by renowned channel swimmers and accomplished marathon swimmers.

Jiro Ono is considered one of the world’s most talented sushi chefs. His attention to detail and years of focus and innovation are embodied in his small, yet renowned, 10-seat restaurant in Ginza, Japan. His Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎) sushi bar has received 3 stars from the Michelin Guide and was the subject of David Gelb’s 2011 documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Ono, like the best in his trade, take his work extraordinarily seriously. The chef always tries to constantly perform at a high level. Channel swimmers also do the same. They are relentless in their pursuit. In fact, swimmers cannot afford not to constantly perform at a high level in a venue that can constantly change and challenge them physiologically and psychologically.

Ono, considered a master in creating sushi perfection, always aspires to improve his skills at preparation and presentation. Marathon swimmers are the same. They may age as athletes, but they are constantly working on their technique, attempting to navigate more effectively through tides, turbulence and currents, and perfecting their feedings.

Other attributes include a unique type of impatience and leadership. Rather than settling for something more standard and commonplace, the elite sushi chefs look to create the ideal combination of taste and texture, beauty and color. Similarly, the elite open water swimmers challenge themselves to swim faster, swim further and swim in more challenging conditions. To be normal or to settle for easy swims is not their goal. They are impatient to the extent that they are always seeking new goals in different locations or under different conditions. Like a master chef, they can be stubborn and demand others rise to their expected level of success. Like a maestro in an orchestra, the sushi chef oversees a kitchen and prep staff and sees to it that all details are managed properly. The channel swimmer is also at the center of attention, managing their logistics while putting themselves in the hand of a pilot and crew.

The last attribute is passion. Without an inner drive to succeed, neither the master sushi chef nor open water swimmer will achieve what they want. But with that inspirational passion, both the master sushi chef and the open water swimmer can achieve the remarkable.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones