It’s no simple thing to be able to teach someone from the West how to create, and how to understand, sushi. But Yoshimi Hayakawa can do it.
Ms Hayakawa understands that the truth of sushi, as Jacob and Ashkenazi point out in their book, The Essence of Japanese Cuisine, is that “minimalism of expression is the height of art. This is more true of sushi than any other preparation, because sushi allows the artist very few materials to work with.”
First, those materials: Ms Hayakawa uses only Galway Bay caught fish, so her sourcing is as fine as one could possibly imagine. Her rice cookery is as perfect as one would expect from this relentlessly autodidactic cook. Japanese chefs understand that rice is the soul of sushi, and Wa sushi is soul food. And her presentation means that the art is on the plate: perfectly formed, perfectly fashioned, with the minimum of action, and the maximum of precision.
In addition to serving superlative sushi in Wa Café, Yoshimi has become the most respected teacher of sushi. Her classes are joyful, enlightening, and humbling. Eating her sushi is, likewise, joyful, enlightening, and humbling. To sit at the counter in Wa, with Ms Hayakawa mellifluously confecting her fish and rice with nimble hands, is to experience a great artist, in performance.