Japanese sushi chefs swear by Norwegian salmon
Norwegian salmon has become the favourite topping for many Japanese sushi chefs. Much thanks to Sushi Master, Masayoshi Kazato, who has used Norwegian salmon in sushi for over 20 years.
Traditionally, sushi chefs of the highest calibre primarily use wild fish when making their artful sushi dishes. In recent years, the demand for Norwegian salmon has become so great, that it been accepted by the highest sushi circles.
Masayoshi Kazato believes that the Norwegian farmed salmon has a very high quality.
The 69-year-old is the leader of the World Sushi Skills Institute (WSSI), and his team travels around the world to preserve and spread the knowledge of sushi art. They bring Norwegian salmon with them.
Ambassadors for the reputation of salmon
“The Seafood Council has collaborated with Masyoshi Kazato for over 10 years to disseminate knowledge on the handling and preparation of raw fish,” Fisheries Emissary for Japan and South Korea, Gunvar L. Wie, tells Kyst.no.
Cooperation has borne fruit In the last five years, in particular. More and more sushi chefs in the high-end segment want Norwegian salmon, and even Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, calls for salmon from Norway when he offers Japanese food. It happened last winter when a Japanese evening was held for the participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Wie got a phone call from Kazato who was with Davos as the head chef for the Prime Minister.
“He called and asked if we could get Norwegian salmon to Abe,” says Wie, who made sure that both Abe and the participants were served sushi with Norwegian salmon.
50 thousand sushi restaurants
According to WSSI, there are more than 50,000 sushi restaurants outside Japan, and 90 per cent of these are in countries where they don’t know how to make sushi and treat raw fish.
“This applies to all parts of the value chain from import reception to restaurants and the stores’ fresh goods outlets, and perhaps especially in Southeast Asia with high temperatures and sushi restaurants that pop up on every other street corner.”
Kazato’s team consists of pros, Japanese sushi chefs from the top shelf. At any time, there are always some from the team that hold cooking classes, lectures or seminars somewhere in the world. The Norwegian salmon is a natural part of the team.
“The work they do is important for the reputation of salmon. It is about how to secure the raw material throughout the process, to the final processing of the fish right up to the consumer. With the cooperation we get this communicated across much of the world,” Wie continues.
Did not like raw salmon
Sushi in Japan is a 500-year-old tradition, but salmon in sushi is a Norwegian invention from the late 80s. It would take over ten years with a lot of resistance before the Japanese became convinced that Norwegian salmon tastes great as sushi topping. In this way, one can also say that the introduction of Norwegian salmon in Japan in the 80s was the start of the Norwegian salmon adventure.
Salmon amounts to 68 out of a total of NOK 99 billion, which constitutes the total export value of all Norwegian seafood in 2018.
© Kyst.no / #Norway Today
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today