SINGAPORE - A small smile appears across chef Ishibashi Masakazu's face as he opens Sushi Ichi's specialist custom-made sashimi refrigerator made with cypress wood.
The 34-year-old head chef of Sushi Ichi at the Singapore Marriott Hotel in Orchard Road shows off the trays of various types of fish, from maguro or Blue Fin Tuna, to aji or Horse Mackerel, that have been ageing in the fridge.
Sushi Ichi here is an offshoot of the one in Ginza, Tokyo, that was awarded one Michelin star in both 2012 and 2013.
The restaurant bears the same name as the one that was previously opened by a franchisee at Scotts Square, but the owners have since taken it back to make sure food standards live up to its reputation. It reopened at its new location about three months ago.
Sharing his philosophy behind the sushi craft, chef Masakazu says he subscribes to the style of Edomae sushi, where sushi is made with fish from Tokyo Bay.
This style involves the use of marinating techniques that date back to the Edo period, which helped to preserve fish before the days of refrigeration. These include sprinkling fish with salt and then immersing it vinegar, as well as boiling fish in shoyu, and abalone in sake.
All components of sushi, from the fish - the type and how long it is aged - to the type, texture and temperature of the rice, and to the type of rice vinegar used, are equally important.
He explains the art of sushi in this video.