If the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi taught us anything, it’s that some sushi artisans devote their entire lives to perfecting this craft and never achieve what they would consider true mastery. But even these traditionalists would probably have to marvel at the delightful sushi art of Takayo Kiyota.
This past year has been a strong one for playing artistically with one’s food. We’ve seen everything from coffee to cucumbers morphed into masterpieces. Kiyota’s sushi, however, takes the cake–or at least the roll. Makizushi is “rolled sushi,” the form of the cuisine that most people are familiar with. This chef has honed a technique for preparing makizushi that turns rice and seaweed into both canvas and paint.
Kiyota discusses her process in depth in Spoon and Tomago, but mainly it consists of layering in colored rice and other elements in a pre-ordained design so that when the sushi roll is cut, the cross-section reveals an image. Needless to say it must have taken a lot of trial and error before Chef Kiyota figured out the right mix of components to make rolls in the forms of cats, mermaids, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and even some erotica. The only problem with such visually appealing food, though: does it look too cool to eat?
Have a look at more of Kiyota’s sushi art in the slides above.