Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer

Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer

4.3 3
by Shiro Kashiba
     
 

"Shiro Kashiba stands atop any list defining Japanese food in Seattle. He's been called many things--culinary master, fisherman, mushroom forager and nature lover--but first and foremost he's the "Sushi King." His eponymous debut cookbook is no chef-vanity affair, though, but a riveting and imaginative blending of East and West in the quest for high gastronomic

Overview


"Shiro Kashiba stands atop any list defining Japanese food in Seattle. He's been called many things--culinary master, fisherman, mushroom forager and nature lover--but first and foremost he's the "Sushi King." His eponymous debut cookbook is no chef-vanity affair, though, but a riveting and imaginative blending of East and West in the quest for high gastronomic art."Shelf Awareness

"A fabulous read for sushi lovers or anyone who enjoys a simple memoir filled with both inspiration and perseverance." -Library Journal

Shiro Kashiba used to walk to the fishing piers of Seattle in the 1960s to retrieve buckets of unwanted salmon roe and pesky Puget Sound octopus from the fishermen. He'd hike the beaches of the Pacific Northwest to gather geoduck before there was a market for the shellfish. Chef Shiro saw treasure where others saw trash. And through this sushi chef's eyes, readers discover the amazing bounty of the Pacific Northwest.

In this revealing cookbook/memoir, Chef Shiro recounts his early days in Tokyo washing dishes and sleeping in the backroom of a prestigious Ginza sushi shop, his decision to come to the United States with little more than an introductory letter, and his ultimate success in Seattle.

But the story doesn't stop there. While Shiro settles into his role as Seattle's premier sushi chef, he develops a deep appreciation for the local delicacies of his new home. Soon he begins to replace expensive Japanese imports with cheaper and more delicious local delicacies. Goodbye bluefin, hello albacore. Shiro tells fascinating and often humorous stories about the region's offerings: his first encounters with geoduck (some say he was the first to serve it raw), the world's tastiest sea urchin, hunting for matsutake mushrooms in the Cascades, a twelve-course meal of silvery ocean smelt, and much more. Ann Norton provides mouthwatering photographs of Shiro's seasonal recipes.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Three days a week you'll find Seattle's pre-eminent sushi chef right where he wants to be: standing behind his sushi bar, celebrating the fact that at 70, he's doing what he dreamt of doing as a grade-school boy in Kyoto. These days (Kashiba) has something else to celebrate, and so do we: the publication of his memoir, Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer. Beautifully photographed and illustrated, filled with memories spanning seven decades and two continents, the book chronicles his years spent as a sushi apprentice in Tokyo's Ginza district and brings us up-to-date with Seattle's contemporary sushi scene" The Seattle Times

"(Kashiba's) appreciation of local sea life—and his serious concern for its survival—permeates the book, which itself is awash in gorgeous illustrations, vintage photos, and recipes and tips from the sushi master. Forty-five years after landing in Seattle, now boasting legions of regular customers (including Bill and Melinda Gates, Ichiro Suzuki and Gerard Schwarz), Shiro tells readers how he got here. It's a lovely immigrant song." Seattle Magazine

"Shiro is engrossing and thoughtful—plenty of pleas for more sustainable seafood practices—and paints a striking picture of the development of Seattle’s sushi culture. The friendly tips from the chef, along with his own personal ephemera, make it a personal and personable read, much like the venerable master himself." MSN.com

"Sushi lovers will delight in this softbound sensation, filled with artwork and ephemera that traces Shiro-san's footsteps from his native Kyoto to Tokyo's Ginza district to Seattle's International District and beyond." —Nancy Leson, The Seattle Times

"Together with Kashiba's recollections, the images and illustrations make up a compelling portrait of a chef who crystallized a very specific Seattle food ethos long before the national media had taken note of Pacific Northwesterners' locavore tendencies." Seattle Weekly

"Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer has something to appeal to everyone. It is the success story of a plucky, ambitious young immigrant making his way in a city with its own ambitions. It is a manifesto for a sustainable Northwest cuisine. It is a manual for making it in the restaurant business. And it is a cookbook of recipes and tips from one of Seattle’s top chefs. All told in the cheerful aw-shucks voice of a friend sitting at the kitchen table with his photo album and scrapbook." The International Examiner

"(Shiro) is quite lovely, with many, many beautiful photos—the black-and-white ones of (Kashiba) and his hiking buddies in Japan in his youth are especially great." The Stranger

"Shiro Kashiba's memoir, Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from Sushi Pioneer (Chin Music Press), takes us from the Ginza district of Tokyo to the shores of Puget Sound, where in 1966, the author says, "there wasn't a sushi bar anywhere." Shiro changed that with a series of restaurants --culminating with his namesake Belltown eatery-- and helped put both raw fish and Seattle on the American culinary map. Though he considered moving elsewhere, the Pacific Northwest's bounty (salmon, tuna, oft-overlooked smelt, and the otherworldly geoduck) was too rich to pass up. You could say the same for the book's final 90 pages: recipes and tips that have made Shiro's sushi some of the best in the land." Seattle Metropolitan Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780984457625
Publisher:
Chin Music Press Inc.
Publication date:
11/29/2011
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
764,661
Product dimensions:
7.02(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.83(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Three days a week you'll find Seattle's pre-eminent sushi chef right where he wants to be: standing behind his sushi bar, celebrating the fact that at 70, he's doing what he dreamt of doing as a grade-school boy in Kyoto. These days (Kashiba) has something else to celebrate, and so do we: the publication of his memoir, Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer. Beautifully photographed and illustrated, filled with memories spanning seven decades and two continents, the book chronicles his years spent as a sushi apprentice in Tokyo's Ginza district and brings us up-to-date with Seattle's contemporary sushi scene" The Seattle Times

"(Kashiba's) appreciation of local sea life—and his serious concern for its survival—permeates the book, which itself is awash in gorgeous illustrations, vintage photos, and recipes and tips from the sushi master. Forty-five years after landing in Seattle, now boasting legions of regular customers (including Bill and Melinda Gates, Ichiro Suzuki and Gerard Schwarz), Shiro tells readers how he got here. It's a lovely immigrant song." Seattle Magazine

"Shiro is engrossing and thoughtful—plenty of pleas for more sustainable seafood practices—and paints a striking picture of the development of Seattle’s sushi culture. The friendly tips from the chef, along with his own personal ephemera, make it a personal and personable read, much like the venerable master himself." MSN.com

"Sushi lovers will delight in this softbound sensation, filled with artwork and ephemera that traces Shiro-san's footsteps from his native Kyoto to Tokyo's Ginza district to Seattle's International District and beyond." —Nancy Leson, The Seattle Times

"Together with Kashiba's recollections, the images and illustrations make up a compelling portrait of a chef who crystallized a very specific Seattle food ethos long before the national media had taken note of Pacific Northwesterners' locavore tendencies." Seattle Weekly

"Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer has something to appeal to everyone. It is the success story of a plucky, ambitious young immigrant making his way in a city with its own ambitions. It is a manifesto for a sustainable Northwest cuisine. It is a manual for making it in the restaurant business. And it is a cookbook of recipes and tips from one of Seattle’s top chefs. All told in the cheerful aw-shucks voice of a friend sitting at the kitchen table with his photo album and scrapbook." The International Examiner

"(Shiro) is quite lovely, with many, many beautiful photos—the black-and-white ones of (Kashiba) and his hiking buddies in Japan in his youth are especially great." The Stranger

"Shiro Kashiba's memoir, Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from Sushi Pioneer (Chin Music Press), takes us from the Ginza district of Tokyo to the shores of Puget Sound, where in 1966, the author says, "there wasn't a sushi bar anywhere." Shiro changed that with a series of restaurants —culminating with his namesake Belltown eatery— and helped put both raw fish and Seattle on the American culinary map. Though he considered moving elsewhere, the Pacific Northwest's bounty (salmon, tuna, oft-overlooked smelt, and the otherworldly geoduck) was too rich to pass up. You could say the same for the book's final 90 pages: recipes and tips that have made Shiro's sushi some of the best in the land." Seattle Metropolitan Magazine

Meet the Author


Shiro Kashiba is an award-winning sushi chef trained in Tokyo's Ginza district at one of Japan's elite sushi restaurants. He opened the first sushi bar in Seattle, WA, in 1966 and pioneered a sushi boom in the Pacific Northwest, opening several restaurants and training future sushi chefs in his kitchen. He is a staunch advocate of using local ingredients and serves locally sourced sushi and Japanese cuisine at his popular Seattle sushi bar, Shiro's.

Ann Norton is a Seattle-based fine artist specializing in photography.

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Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
codeman3384 More than 1 year ago
This book was a pleasant surprise. Not what it appears to be at first glance, this memoir/cookbook is a tour de force that not only informs, but inspires the reader to reexamine what they think about tradition and how it impacts modern cuisine as time passes by. A friend and contemporary of the famed master Jiro Ono, Shiro-san is equally a master of cuisine in his own right, and an inspiration to all that follow down the path of being a sushi chef. Amazing pictures and witty commentary. I finished it in one sitting. Amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A sushi chief’s American dream Shiro is the autobiography of Shiro Kashiba a Japanese born sushi chief whose travels take him to Seattle where he works his way to owning his own sushi restaurant, by introducing the pacific northwest to classic Japanese sushi while using local products both to save money and add a new fresh local flavor to sushi. Shiro gives a lifelong narration of how he worked his way up from apprentice in Japan, to apprentice in America, and finally to owning his own sushi restaurant. While giving his narration he gave tips and insights to sushi through his discoveries, recipes, and other life experiences. Between the tip section, recipe section, and lessons thrown into the story you will increase your sushi knowledge and maybe even become a basic sushi chief. I would highly recommend this book if you want to learn sushi knowledge while being mildly entertained by a classical American dream success story. If sushi knowledge is not what you are looking to gain this book is probably not for you due to a lack of exciting events. It does have some interesting parts and can be inspirational: however, there are better books to entertain your self and learn lessons from. Also, if you are looking for a very advanced sushi book this is not the book for you because the tips are basic. The tips are helpful to most but typically cover basics that beginners will find helpful. Shiro illustrates the art of sushi and through pictures and descriptions the impressive skill required. He demonstrated the versatility of sushi and the ability to enhance the art of sushi using local fresh ingredients. Also, he was able to demonstrate subtle tips to enhance the art. For example only cooking one side of the kelp to give it a nice crisp but not brittle. Some of these tips are tips on how not to ruin the art of sushi. For example, the over use of soy sauce kills the fresh flavor of the fish and is overpowering. These tips along with the narrative make for an intriguing book and overall I would give this book a three of five stars.