Recently, Chef Taka Moriuchi of Taka Sushi and Passion restaurant in Buckhead published a post on his blog Sushi and Passion regarding regulations now requiring chefs in Fulton County to wear gloves while preparing sushi.
Moriuchi states, “We need to wear glove all the time when we touch raw fish. But, is it clean? We tried.. and realized that making sushi with glove is not easy. Rice stick on glove and can not make right size of nigiri sushi.”
I recently witnessed this at a different sushi restaurant here in Fulton County, and frankly it looks weird (mostly because I’m not used to seeing this). I asked the chef of this restaurant how he felt about having to wear gloves now and he responded that he didn’t mind.
From my sushi bar vantage point, I watched this chef prepare dish after dish of sushi items for customers for nearly an hour, and in that time I did not witness him wash his hands nor replace his gloves once. To me, that chef letting all those myriad of fish oils and its natural moisture linger on his gloved hands raises a flag more than sushi chefs not wearing gloves. I’m also wondering if this chef was desensitized to the oil, film and sticky rice residue and just didn’t know any better.
For the most part, I don’t have an issue with the kitchen handling and preparing my meals without gloves. As an avid cook, there is no way I can continue to efficiently prepare meals as oils, juices, crumbs and ingredients that tend to clump or become gooey accumulate on the skin. Basically, I have to consistently wash my hands as I switch from task to task, or at times — from ingredient to ingredient.
I’ve also prepared food with gloves and admit there is a fineness that is lost when doing so. Moriuchi continues, “But we do not wear glove when make sushi in Japan. A human being skin is really useful.” This statement alludes to Moriuchi’s earlier complaint about the size of his nigiri sushi.
What are your thoughts about this? Are you in the hands-off camp, or are you fine with your sushi, or any food for that matter, being bare-handled? Sanitarily, is this a move in the right direction, or is this taking a step backward?
by Gene Lee, Food and More blog