Making sushi, especially the way chefs do it at Jiro Ono’s famous Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant, is a fastidious and labor-intensive process. But for all the training and practice and care that goes into it, chefs still make the sushi using just their hands, so it is surprising to hear that Jiro’s son and heir, Yoshikazu Ono, says women can’t be sushi chefs because their menstruation will mess up the fish.
Business Insider’s April Walloga says she was working on a story about the paucity of female sushi chefs when she discovered a bewildering quote by Yoshikazu Ono explaining why there were no female chefs or apprentices at his father’s famed sushi restaurant.
"The reason is because women menstruate,” Yoshikazu Ono reportedly said in 2011. “To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle, women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs."
If Yoshikazu Ono’s logic were true, that would presumably mean that women could not be good chefs at all, what with their careening hormones and unbalanced palates. Obviously there are a number of exceptional female chefs in the world whose very existence disproves his weird old theory. If there are no female chefs at Sukiyabashi Jiro, it is presumably because they did not hire any, not because women have an innate, sushi-ruining menstrual cycle.