East Side Sushi (2014) Movie Script

Did you check last night's lottery numbers?
Are we millionaires?
I didn't want to give
up that fruit cart yet.
Let's go, mi amor.
Wake up.
Time for school.
Are you feeling okay?
I'm okay, Ma.
Learn something new, okay?
I'll do the cart today.
Pa, look.
I don't have to be at work 'til 6.
But I can help with...
Go home and rest.
What's this?
Lime juice.
For what?
It's cheaper, and less work.
Well it tastes cheaper.
And sea salt tastes better too.
Don't buy that stuff.
Since you're here, I'm going to open
up the store for Charlie.
And then you go home?
Yes. And then I go home.
Spare change?
Anything would be much appreciated.
God bless you.
Hey, I need you to close tonight.
Uh, Charlie, I have to pick up my daughter.
Can I get some mango-s?
I'll take some of her mango's.
Come on. Come on. Come on.
Thanks, princesa.
Give me the money!
Open up the cooler.
Dump it out!
Stay on the ground!
Don't look up!
Or I'll shoot you in the damn face.
Got it.
They took everything.
Not everything.
Look, tomorrow...
...I'll do the fruit cart.
Didn't you hear?
Did you not hear the part
where I almost got killed today?
They've been robbing fruit vendors
all month.
You've gotta give up that stupid cart.
It's not worth it.
Yes but...
I can't start a business.
The fruit cart is a respectable job.
You're not going to
be able to retire off selling fruit.
That cart takes both of us.
And I can't keep pulling Lydia out of bed
at 4 every morning.
I'll ask Charlie if I
can put in more hours.
But if not, I have to do that cart.
You're still awake.
How'd you say you hurt your face again?
The cart rolled right off
the back of the curb,
and bam.
Right in the face.
And it hit your leg too?
It's heavy, honey.
Almost landed right on top of me.
Stupid cart.
We're giving it up anyways.
Come here.
Hello, Pedro.
Hola, Jorge.
He smelled the meat.
Hey, you wanna see my new dog?
Look at the baby.
Hey, I got beer.
Juana, I swear this is the best came asada.
You could buy your own taco truck.
You'd make a fortune.
You've got talent, Juana.
Juana, a customer complained
about weights on the floor.
We wouldn't want someone
tripping over one of these things
and filing a lawsuit, all right?
Konnichiwa. How many'?
I'd like to apply for
the "help wanted" position.
Do you have experience
working in the kitchen?
Yes, lots.
It's very busy right now.
But you come back on Thursday
at 9:00 a.m. for interview.
Does the job have medical benefits?
Yes, after three months.
For sure, yeah.
I can be here.
Thanks. Thank you.
Floor it!
Like that?
Just turn it off.
There's a restaurant downtown
that's looking for an assistant cook.
What happened to the job at the gym?
They're not going to hire me full-time.
What restaurant?
Doesn't sound Mexican to me.
What's wrong with the taquerias
on East 14th?
I tried those already.
And I'm tired of taquerias.
This place looks...
And their medical benefits
kick in after three months.
Is it the place where they throw the shrimp
into the air and catch it with their hats?
No, I don't think so.
I'd rather you work at a taqueria,
so you can bring home some tacos.
I can still bring food home.
Yeah, but Japanese.
Who wants to eat rice with
sukiyaki every night?
You don't know. Maybe they
have something besides rice.
I have an interview with them tomorrow.
Just make sure you are doing
what's best for your daughter.
Yes, I will do very well
as the assistant cook.
It's the assistant to the cooks.
Cooks. More than one?
Oh, yes.
Three sushi chefs,
and one cooks in the kitchen.
You will work exclusively in the kitchen.
Sure, no problem.
Let's see.
Sorry, it's Juana.
Ah, Juana.
You've worked in many restaurants.
- Any Japanese?
- Yes, many. Lucia's...
Well, that's an Italian restaurant. Um...
Well, mostly Mexican restaurants,
but, no, no Japanese.
But you have worked a lot with fish?
Yes, lots. Scale and debone.
Halibut, catfish, red snapper,
trout, shellfish, prawns, shrimp.
- Mostly frying fish.
- Ah, no frying fish here.
- Lots of tempura, though.
- Tempura?
Some of the job
will also be taking out the trash,
doing dishes and mopping,
helping the busboy.
- Is that okay?
- Yes.
We don't usually hire women for the kitchen
because they have to lift pots of hot water,
and the bags of rice are 50 pounds.
My daughter is 52 pounds,
and I can carry her for hours.
If I cannot do it, you
can fire me on the spot.
I won't be offended.
Give me your biggest bag of rice.
I can show you right now.
Can you start tomorrow?
Morning, Brenda.
I'm allergic to the cleansers here.
Bad headaches.
I'm sorry, I gotta quit.
I only had this uniform
for a couple of months.
I'm donating it to the gym.
Can you mail me my paycheck?
This is where all the other food is cooked.
Tempura, teriyaki, miso soup and so forth.
This is Victor, this is Billy,
and this is our lead sushi chef, Aki.
Hey, Juana, welcome.
Hola, mi amore.
You know, it's about time
we have some nice scenery.
It's like San Quentin in here.
Hey, settle down.
Let's move on.
You can start with the
pile of dishes there.
Nice to meet you, Aki.
Hey, Billy, we need more cabbage.
I've got five more bentos to fill.
Hey, Juana. Come over here.
- It's Juana.
- Huh?
- Juana.
- Oh, sorry. Juana.
Slice them just like this.
Sure, no problem.
Hey, forget the dishes today.
We keep you on food prep.
Can I bring my own knives in?
Hey, can you come in 30 minutes earlier
tomorrow morning?
- I can.
- Good.
- Buenos dias.
- Buenos dias.
I have worked with lots of
Spanish-speaking people over the years.
So I had to learn some Spanish
to communicate.
That's the fish truck.
Here is what we are getting today.
I will show you how I
select the freshest fish.
If you don't know how to,
they are gonna select it for you.
You don't want them selecting your fish.
Okay, your fingers should not leave a dent.
Nice and firm.
And the eyes should be clear, not cloudy.
And check under the gills
to see if it's too dark.
The fins are broken.
Yeah, that's also bad.
Hey, what are you trying
to sell our new employee?
Ah, like a taco?
Yeah, I guess so.
Okay, let's move this stuff inside.
Lunch is served!
Try it.
I've tried those once before.
They're okay.
Where did you try?
The supermarket.
So you've never had a good sushi,
fresh sushi.
Hold them like this.
- It's okay to use your hands.
- I got it. I got it.
That was amazing.
Can I have another?
Now slice all of these cucumbers
just like this.
And store them in the fridge here below.
Wait. Let me see your knife.
Yeah, this can work.
But maybe you want to upgrade
to a nice carbon steel later.
Now he's going to get it!
Oh no!
Aye, Lydia.
You're not supposed to be up. Come on.
But it's not done yet.
Are those Zombies?
Yeah, this is a good one.
I just ask that you put her in bed by 9.
You're the one who took that job.
Why do you want to make me feel
guilty for that?
She's in a good school, she'll have
medical benefits soon.
I've always put you and Lydia first.
Can I just do this for me, for once?
You're the mother. You know what's best.
"Ebi. Shrimp.
"Tako, octopus."
"Tako, octopus."
Tamago, egg."
Tamago, egg."
"Wakame." What is that?
Thank you.
Wait. Put it down.
But it's already in my chopstick.
First, mix some wasabi
and soy sauce together.
But don't make it look like guacamole dip.
You just need very little.
And now you dip it.
And eat it.
Mmm! Mmm.
It's so smooth, so... Suavecito.
It's sticky.
It's vinegared rice.
Yeah, it's very good.
It's not "very good," it's vinegared.
I have a little surprise!
What do you got there, chamaca?
I'm starving!
I think you're going to like this.
But first, you have to be open
to something different.
Um, I see, uh, rice.
What is it?
That's what they call sushi, mi amor.
Yes. It's muy delicious.
So this is the food at Mommy's restaurant.
It's Japanese.
This is the California roll,
the spicy tuna roll,
the Raider roll, and that one...
That one is the rock 'n' roll.
Ooh, what's a rock 'n' roll?
It's really yummy. You will like it.
Well, what's in it?
Uh, it's, um, barbecued eel.
Oh, that's gross.
Really, honey. You will love it.
ls that dinner?
Go on, try it. It won't
kill you right away.
No, it's just crab and tuna...
And the tuna is cooked?
- Try it.
- No, I don't like that stuff.
I got some tacos in the refrigerator.
Fine. More for us.
Here's some soy sauce for you to dip it in.
Put a little bit of this green stuff,
it's called wasabi.
Wasabi. Wa-sa-bi.
It's like Tapatio.
Mija, that's...
That's too much.
- Juana.
- Yes, ma'am?
Mr. Yoshida is here. Look sharp!
Yes, ma'am.
What is this?
Chicken teriyaki, Mr. Yoshida.
Of course it is.
Where's the ginger rose?
Who made this?
- Juana, sir.
- Juana?
Mr. Yoshida,
this is your new employee, Juana.
Juana, Mr. Yoshida.
Make sure she knows
to prepare the ginger rose.
Yes, sir.
- That means "hurry."
- Yes, Mr. Yoshida.
Everybody gets initiated at some point.
I want mango's!
Did you see that cart?
It was just like ours.
We should be selling fruit today.
They didn't even fill up the whole bag.
And it's not even ripe.
That's not how you sell fruit.
Imagine the fortune we could've made today.
Yeah, a fortune.
Why aren't you selling fruit?
I don't know. Ask your mother.
She has all the answers.
Mommy really likes her new job, honey.
I'm learning a lot there.
Yeah, but we could've made much more
out here.
Look, why don't we fix up the cart?
And we could go to one of those
art and wine festivals.
I'm going to learn
how to make rice tomorrow.
But you already know how to make rice.
Even your daughter knows how to make rice.
I don't know how to make rice.
This is sushi rice - it's different.
It's complicated.
This job has potential.
Potential for what?
Making sushi burritos?
Who's going to want to eat that?
Why don't you become a chef...
...a great chef...
...of Mexican food?
Because I already am!
Alright. Well, let's...
Pa. Pa.
Why don't we...
Let me do this.
Sorry I'm late. My car got broken into.
Did you do this?
I thought you might need some help.
Thanks, Juana.
Eight parts rice vinegar, four parts sugar,
one part sea salt.
Eight, four, one. Okay?
Cut the rice at a 45-degree angle.
Mix them thoroughly
so that every grain of rice is seasoned.
Got it.
Hey, the fish that doesn't sell here,
can I take it home?
Sure, it's still good.
Just not good enough for our customers.
Are you going to barbecue it?
Or maybe I'll make some nigiri.
I knew you liked it.
Do not pack rice.
Let it coo! evenly.
We only cook as much rice as needed.
Never waste a grain.
And that is how you make
perfect, very good rice.
And that is how you make
perfect, very good rice.
What is that?
Tuna. It's called maguro in Japanese.
Tuna's white, and that's red.
It's still raw, honey.
It's just like the one in the can,
but it tastes better.
I'm slicing this like the sushi chefs do.
They cut against the grain.
Mama, dinner ready yet?
Almost, baby.
Sorry. I followed the directions exactly.
What are you doing? That's good tuna.
This stuff taste better fried.
I don't know what I did wrong.
- You used rice vinegar?
- Of course.
Did you fan the rice?
Yes, I let it set for the
right amount of time.
How old was the rice?
Old? I don't know.
Rice too new, it has too much moisture.
I didn't look.
Why didn't anyone tell me?
We didn't know
you were experimenting at home.
You try to become a sushi chef?
Woman's hands are too warm.
You cannot handle raw fish.
That's true, and the perfume affects taste.
Can I watch you guys make the maki rolls?
On my break, of course?
Yeah, sure.
I could learn how to make the
California rolls for the bento boxes.
Why is everyone so quiet?
We do not speak when we are working
because we do not want to spit in the food.
Oh, I see.
I saw this competition
for California sushi chefs.
Oh, some kind of masters of sushi?
Champions of sushi.
Yeah, that's right.
So, you should enter. I'm sure you'd win.
Nah, I stay behind the counter.
I bet the prize money is pretty good.
No way. I'm not gonna
look like a fool on TV.
Too scary.
We have a table of eight
We have a table of eight
that has been waiting for their food
for over 20 minutes.
They need their food now! Hayaku!
Hai, Mr. Yoshida.
We'll have the vegetable tempura.
Uh, the chicken teriyaki
and two miso soups.
- Thank you.
- Robert.
I told you before.
Do not take orders for non-sushi items.
It's not a big deal.
You tell them to order non-sushi items
from the waitress.
You train the customer,
don't let them train you.
How much you drink?
I've had a beer. Maybe two.
And sake. No more drink.
Change your ways,
or you will not work for me.
I forgot it's your Japanese night, right?
Mmm. That's good.
Apa, try some.
I put, uh, cilantro and jalapeos in those.
I got a pay cut today.
Pa, they don't pay you very much as it is!
But that's how it's going to be.
Or I go back to fruit vending.
I'll have to work more hours
to make up the difference.
Sorry, Pa.
One hamachi toro and one oshinko maki.
Can I order some sashimi?
Robert quit.
Can you ask Mr. Yoshida if he can help?
He is at the other restaurant.
One rock 'n' roll,
one spicy tuna roll.
Can you please apologize and tell them
that their sushi
will take a little longer tonight?
I can help.
I don't have time to train tonight.
No need to train. I'll make it
and show it to you for approval.
You are needed in the kitchen.
Billy can take over both
stoves for a little bit.
I can make maki rolls and nigiri.
One sake nigiri and one toro nigiri.
I can do those.
Aki, trust me.
Excuse me, can I get another hamachi?
Do this one order.
But you cannot prepare it up here.
Why not?
It's not acceptable, not for Mr. Yoshida.
And you are not dressed appropriately.
Okay. I'll do it in the kitchen.
No. It would affect the taste.
For now, prepare it in the stockroom.
That was fast.
Can you handle these phone orders too?
Yeah, no problem.
Hey. You know how to make the Raider roll?
That's the first one I learned.
Get it?
I heard of Tijuana.
But never "konnichi-Juana".
Good one.
That was very impressive tonight.
Was it all good?
I could not have done better.
Because you are stand-in sushi chef,
you get sushi tips.
Thank you.
Hey, I can help you tomorrow.
Uh, maybe.
Mr. Yoshida might be able to help tomorrow.
Don't rush.
And customary to share sake with your chef.
This is my secret stash.
Not even my best customers get to try this.
Oh, yes, kanpai.
This is good. This is quite an honor.
Thank you.
No, thank you for helping tonight.
When did you have time to practice?
I have a hungry family.
If they don't like it,
like my Pa, I modify it.
I've made roasted poblano rolls,
chile relleno rolls,
rolls with jalapeos instead of wasabi.
Hey, Aki.
I want to be a sushi chef, here at the bar.
I can work as your apprentice.
Maybe I can work as your apprentice.
I'm serious.
- Juana.
- Come on, I can do this job.
You know I can.
I don't know if that's such a good idea.
And you are doing a great job back there.
I've been working back there
for too long in too many kitchens.
Besides, I want to be a sushi chef,
not a sous chef.
I understand.
But to be out here, you need a...
You need to have a relaxed
- and calm demeanor.
- I do!
I mean, I'm calm and relaxed!
Back there, you can be
as crazy and messy as you want.
But to be up here...
Up here, you need to be confident,
clean and tight.
This area has to be pristine.
Have you seen my stove? It's pretty clean.
It is too soon.
Mr. Yoshida would never approve.
Well, I will prove it to Mr. Yoshida, then.
And you are not Japanese.
I'm only speaking for Mr. Yoshida here.
Aki, speak for yourself,
not for Mr. Yoshida.
Kyung is not Japanese either. He's Korean.
But he was trained in Japan.
And Robert? He's Chinese.
You're a woman.
Why would you want to work up here?
See? I knew it. This is
because I'm a woman.
You know I can do this job
just as good as any man.
- I'm only speaking for Mr. Yoshida.
- Mr. Yoshida, yes.
I think the sake's getting to your head.
I don't know.
If I walked into a taqueria and I saw
a bunch of Asians cooking the food,
- I'd probably think twice.
Sure, maybe.
But if that same taqueria
had all Latino workers,
and just one Asian...
One Asian.
Would that be okay?
Come in early tomorrow morning.
You can help me scale and slice fish.
And put your name on the sake box.
- Ready?
- Hai.
What is going on here?
I was just helping, sir.
We do not need your help there.
You are not to make sushi.
It is not a job for you.
It's just that they were short-staffed,
and I can help out.
You were hired for the kitchen.
Okay, sir. But let me just show you that...
lam running a restaurant,
not a cooking school.
You want to become a sushi chef?
You go try another restaurant, not here.
Come on!
One yellow tail, one red snapper
and a blue shrimp.
Hey, one Hawaiian roll and salmon nigiri?
No. No way.
Mr. Yoshida will have both our heads.
I cannot afford to lose my job right now.
Give me the ticket.
Thank you. But you're not supposed to
make it out here.
Sorry, it was just faster.
Okay, go ahead. But don't
make a show of it.
Okay, you're off the hook.
Mr. and Mrs. Yoshida are here.
- Mr. Yoshida.
- Mr. Wagner.
I'm rather surprised
with your new sushi chef.
Sushi chef?
Yes, the woman?
There's a misunderstanding.
She is not a sushi chef. I assure you.
I like the authenticity of this place.
Have a good night.
I leave you in charge of my restaurant...
...and this is what happens?
You had her out front?
I'm sorry. I asked for her help and...
Yes. That is why I am here now.
Can't you handle this sushi bar?
Yes sir, but she is...
Do not soil my reputation!
We can't hire just any cook off the street.
It's not your place to hire.
Who prepared this?
Fine, send it off.
- Wow.
- Wow.
- That's beautiful.
- Beautiful work, Mr. Yoshida.
Would you like some sake?
Thanks again for your help.
I'm going to ask Mr. Yoshida
if you can assist at the sushi bar.
No, thanks.
What do you mean, "No, thanks"?
I thought you wanted to help.
It doesn't matter.
Mr. Yoshida will think you're an idiot.
Forget it.
- I'll talk to him.
- I said no.
I can handle my own battles, thank you.
It's his restaurant. He
can do what he wants.
Can I print from here?
It says I have to videotape myself making
traditional sushi...
...and show photos of my own creations.
"Your signature roll should be original
but not stray too far from tradition."
If you're not going to support me, can you
at least pretend that you're interested?
Come on, Pa.
I'm not running away from my roots here.
You know...
...sometimes I think you're just happy with
us working, but never succeeding at anything.
You don't need to prove to anyone
that you are a good chef.
A good sushi chef, yes.
But you don't need to go on some game
show to prove it to people.
But we need the money, right?
Our computer is dead. Lydia needs a new
uniform, a backpack and a cell phone.
A cell phone? I don't
even own a cell phone.
Unfortunately, those are things kids need
nowadays. And I can't give them to her.
And it will pay for Lydia's tuition for
two more years.
...has a video camera.
Give him a plate of chicken mole...
...and he'll lend it to you.
That's right.
But I still don't know
what kind of sushi to make.
Only God knows.
If you can't beat them at their game,
beat them at your game.
Nobody speak.
Okay, Apa, when I'm making this,
whatever you do,
make sure you do not show my face.
Just keep the camera on the food
and my hands.
- Okay?
- Okay.
I'm ready.
Fifty-seven seconds.
Now I need to make a signature roll.
What's a signature roll?
It's my own roll.
Something original but not stray
too far from traditional sushi.
So you have to use the rice
and those green tortillas?
And this.
Can I have one?
Yeah, go ahead.
Wait, not that one. It might be too hot.
- It is...
- Mmm.
Can I have another?
How long have you worked
as a sushi chef?
Two years.
- Where did you get your training?
- Kamakura restaurant.
Did you work anywhere else as a sushi chef?
- Sushi Go Go.
I learned how to wash dishes there.
Who's Mrs. Yoshida talking to?
I think they're interviewing
for a sushi chef.
Mr. Yoshida,
I was hoping I could apply
for the open sushi chef position.
I can make everything on this menu,
and then some.
And I'm fast.
You are encouraging her.
I am not discouraging her.
I can prove it to you,
and if you don't like it,
you can send me back to the kitchen.
You were hired for the kitchen.
But I want to work out here.
I know I'm a woman.
I cannot change that, nor would I want to,
but if you want me to look Japanese,
I don't know, I can wear a bandana
around my head and look more official.
You work in the kitchen. That's it.
Didn't you say
you couldn't have done a better job?
Yes, I did.
So, were you lying?
Of course not.
I deserve to be out front.
Out here.
No! Customers come in
and they want authenticity.
I gave them authenticity,
but you want to give them an illusion!
The special, the bonito bonito,
that's mine, I invented that.
It's a crowd favorite.
The Japanese have a tradition,
and we respect that tradition.
This is not Japan.
Sure, you tell women that
their hands are too warm to prepare fish,
that their perfume will affect the taste.
Kyung, he smells like an ashtray.
You want to be a sushi chef?
Go try any other restaurant in town.
Go ahead!
I will even put in a good word for you.
We'll see who hires you.
Is that what you want? Huh?
What are you trying to be, Juana?
I'm trying to have an opportunity
like everyone else!
I deserve an opportunity,
like everyone else!
You know...
Behind every great restaurant here,
there are great Latinos,
in the back, in the kitchen,
Prepping the food
and making you all look good.
I don't want to be in the back anymore.
To hell with it. I quit.
Juana's creation. The Mayan Sun Roll.
It's as good, if not better
than anything on this menu.
I don't believe it.
What did you say?
Something about Latinos being stuck
in the back.
Truthfully, I don't really remember.
I was upset.
I thought you were happy there?
I was.
Didn't you want me to work in a taqueria?
I want you to work where you're happy.
Abuelo, Mommy's home!
Hola, mija.
Tell her.
What's going on?
You got a certified letter.
It's from
the Champions Of Sushi competition.
"Dear J. Martinez.
"We had over 400 submissions this year,
"and would like to congratulate you
"on your acceptance to
"the Champions Of Sushi competition.
"Our competition will be held
at KTOP Studios
"and will be streamed live on the internet.
"Please e-mail or call to confirm."
Oh, God. That's in two weeks.
It's gonna be okay, mija.
You know what you need to do?
You need to get ready for the competition.
I don't know, Pa.
They're just gonna laugh at me.
It's gonna be embarrassing.
Well, we got some things to cheer you up.
They're good luck presents.
What is it?
It walks, look!
It's sushi on wheels.
That one is erasers,
and this one is soap.
Is that tamago?
This is so cute.
Is that mama's scarf?
Keep it on you for good luck.
Your mother always brought me good luck.
What if I hadn't gotten in?
I knew you would.
It's beautiful, Pa.
Let me see those sushi with wheels again.
Yeah, yeah, I'm doin' good.
Aki? Yeah, he's here.
Orale, pues, Juana, here he is.
Dang. Calm down, bro.
Long time no hear. Are you coming back?
You what?
You got into what?
You're crazy.
Well, we should celebrate.
Uh, let's get together.
Mommy, I think he's your friend.
- He's Chinese.
- Shh.
He's Japanese.
Open the door, honey.
Come in.
Thank you.
And you must be Lydia.
Wait, you got something in your hair.
And what do you say, Lydia?
Thank you.
Come on over.
Oh, it's good to see you.
Apa, this is Aki.
Macho gusto.
My daughter tells me a lot about you.
Some good things, I hope.
No. But why don't you have a seat.
Thank you.
Juana, I have something for you.
With your permission.
Carbon steel.
- This is your knife.
- It's yours now.
I can't.
Actually, I'm not giving it to you.
It's bad luck to give knives as a gift.
It would sever the friendship.
So you have to buy it from me.
And I will charge you a penny.
Honey, I need to borrow that.
Mama, that's mine!
I don't know what to say.
You just say arigato.
Okay, let's go eat. My treat.
Oh, what do you feel like eating?
Mexican, of course.
Of course, to your favorite restaurant.
Who said we were going to a restaurant?
What do you want?
Uh, tacos.
Carnitas? Carnitas?
- Carnitas is pork.
- Carnitas.
Definitely good.
- Cabeza?
- Cabeza? You will like it.
Cabeza. Cabeza. It's head!
I usually have here, like, fish tacos,
- and sometimes shrimp tacos.
- Fish tacos.
- Shrimp tacos. Sounds good to me.
- Frying fish.
Try it.
Tuna, pero no es tuna de tuna.
- Tuna?
- It's tuna, like...
Hi, can I help you?
Hi, we are here for the taping.
Taping of...
Champions Of Sushi.
Who's the contestant?
J. Martinez.
I'm sorry, what was his name?
It's my name. Juana.
There must have been a typo.
- Oh, you're the contestant?
- Yes.
Here is my acceptance letter.
Just one moment, please.
Mr. Whitman?
- Yes?
- The lady up front says
she's in a competition here.
Where are the rest of my judges?
I have her letter.
It says she was approved.
Who approved this?
The entries are all processed
in Sacramento, so I don't know.
Yes, yes. I remember now.
His... uh, well, her work was very good.
Just because someone can make
some sushi doesn't make her a sushi chef.
This is a serious
and respected competition.
It's not something that
any cook can get into.
Let her compete.
We don't need a lawsuit on our hands,
and maybe the other three contestants
will bring us a good show.
Okay, I'll let her know. Thank you.
Hi. Sorry for the delay.
Please step over here to the left,
and our coordinator
will show you backstage.
I'm not really Japanese, but neither
are you, so we're all good.
Let's get you into makeup. Follow me.
Get them in position.
I didn't know
we entered a baking competition.
Don't worry about them.
They're just threatened by you.
Okay, we're almost ready.
And we're down to 20 seconds.
Quickly, everyone, line
up this way, please.
Ten seconds. Everybody in position.
Cameras are up.
Hello! And welcome to Champions Of Sushi.
I'm your host, Jimmy Nishida.
Today we have four contestants
competing for $20,000,
and the distinction of Sushi Master.
The winner of this competition
will move on to the national championship.
And now let's welcome your sushi chefs.
And behind every great sushi chef
is their highly trained assistant.
We need camera A
a little closer, please.
You've worked
under more difficult conditions.
...beat them at your game.
Look, there is Lydia.
On air, 10 seconds.
Everybody in position.
For their first challenge,
they will have two minutes
to make one tekka maki,
one California roll
and two pieces of maguro nigiri.
Contestants, remember to put your hands up
when you are done.
In three, two, one...
The chefs naturally begin
with the moistening of the hands,
which will keep the rice from sticking.
Avocado is key to a California roll,
and rumor has it that the avocado
was first used as a substitute
for the more expensive tom.
Chef Kim and Chef Yamamoto,
both display their knife skills.
Chef Kim has run into a bit of trouble.
The pressure intensifies
when the cameras are rolling.
Let's talk to last year's
National Champions of Sushi winner,
Sushi Master Hitoshi Watanabe.
Tell me, Chef Watanabe,
how did you begin your career?
This has been
passed down from my father
and my father's father.
So I'm just keeping the tradition going.
And the newcomer
at the competition,
and rather unknown in the sushi community,
we have Chef Juana Martinez.
Tell me, Chef Martinez,
what do you think is key to good sushi?
The freshest fish, great rice,
and of course, a good sushi chef.
Chefs have plated
their California rolls
and are now moving on to tekka maki!
The difference with the tekka maki rolls
is the nori is on the outside.
All chefs seem to be in a dead heat
as they move on to their tuna nigiri.
The chefs are adding a pinch of fresh
wasabi to the underside of the tuna.
And Chef Watanabe appears to have finished
fractions before the other chefs.
As the judges go around to each contestant,
they will be examining the sushi
for accuracy,
cleanliness of their work station,
and of course, speed.
What is that?
Juana. She's in a sushi competition.
Silly TV shows do not make a sushi chef.
In first place, Chef Hitoshi Watanabe.
In second, Chef Juana Martinez.
In third, Chef Frank Yamamoto,
and bringing up fourth, Chef David Kim.
We'll be right back
after a word from our sponsor.
Okay, everyone, that's two minutes.
Let's get prepped for the next round.
Welcome to
the Katsuramuki speed challenge.
They will slice the cucumber in front
of them into one thin continuous sheet.
In three, two, one...
This is considered the most difficult
yet fundamental knife technique
for any sushi chef.
Using a thin, flat-sided knife
is crucial to this technique.
Chef Martinez is not only
keeping pace with these pros,
she seems to be leading the pack.
Contestants, put down your knives!
The judges will be giving points
for consistency and thinness of the sheet.
It looks like Chef Martinez
has taken this round.
In second place, Chef Watanabe.
In third, Chef Kim,
and Chef Yamamoto is in fourth.
We are now in the final
and most important part of the competition,
We are now in the final
and most important part of the competition,
the signature platter.
This is their unique creation which
defines them as a chef and as an artist.
And the secret ingredient
they all must use is...
King salmon.
Chefs, you now have 10 minutes
to complete this task.
In three, two, one...
Do you think you are improving upon sushi?
Sushi in its traditional form is beautiful.
Delicious and magical.
I don't think I am improving
but just adding more options.
I think sushi can be adapted
to local conditions and local people.
Five more minutes.
Chef Martinez looks to be using
a poblano pepper instead of nori.
Tell me, Chef Watanabe,
are you more artist or chef?
I am both.
One minute left. One minute.
You have 30 seconds.
In five, four, three, two, one.
Okay, we need to move the sushi
platters front and center right now.
The entire time
I was working at that restaurant,
and this never, never came up.
Muchacha, what's wrong with it?
The chopsticks in the rice, it's offensive.
It looks like an offering to the dead.
An offering to the dead.
It resembles incense sticks.
I'm such an idiot.
We'll call you out in a minute.
But this is more
than a beauty contest
as taste will be the deciding factor.
Okay, it's time.
Contestants were judged
on originality of creation,
artistic value and taste.
Now, let's reveal your signature plates.
We'll start with Chef David Kim.
I used boiled asparagus, oshinko,
and avocado on the inside.
And king salmon and cheddar cheese
on the outside.
And I call it red samurai.
Thank you, Chef.
Now, let's move on to Chef Frank Yamamoto.
I call this, uh, Yamamoto's desire.
Inside is tamago and cucumber, salmon,
and shitake mushroom,
and cucumber and soy bean paper.
And our next chef, Juana Martinez.
Please, tell us what you prepared.
I call it the green diablo roll.
It's filled with jalapeos, avocado,
shitake mushrooms,
tobiko and the king salmon.
Then rolled with roasted poblano
and drizzled with chili sesame oil.
Thank you, Chef Martinez.
And now, Chef Watanabe,
please, tell us about your dish.
This is the Golden Gate roll.
Inside is avocado, cucumber and tobiko,
with sliced salmon on top and ikura
and salmon caviar.
Thank you. And good luck
to all of our chefs.
Judges, have you reached your decision?
In fourth place is Chef David Kim.
In third place...
Chef Frank Yamamoto.
That leaves our last two chefs,
Hitoshi Watanabe and Juana Martinez.
But only one will be moving on
to the national championship.
This year's regional
Champions Of Sushi grand prize winner
of $20,000 and the title
of Sushi Master is...
Chef Hitoshi Watanabe!
Thank you very much.
- Watanabe, wonderful job.
- Thank you very much.
- Congratulations.
- Thank you very much.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Excuse me, Ms. Martinez.
Do you think this was a fair panel?
Yes, those are very fantastic
and creative chefs.
Yes, of course it was fair.
I'm sorry, I just need one minute.
Thank you. Thank you.
Congratulations to all our chefs.
And from everyone here
at Champions of Sushi,
damn arigato, and we'll see you next year.
Yoshida san.
I would like, um, toro nigiri
and green diablo roll.
With pleasure, sir.
And cold sake for the chef.
We should really think about
serving some tequila in here.