Sushi Woman - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Reporter Gina Silva

Sushi Woman

Posted: Updated:

Motoko Yoshikawa knows all about sushi. At Noodles Bar in Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino near Yosemite, Motoko is a Sushi Rock Star! People will wait for hours to be served by this 77-year old charming woman. Watching Motoko prepare those sushi masterpieces is part of the wonderful experience.  She is good and really fast. She has to be with so many people waiting to be served by her. Motoko's specialty is the Gold Roll. Customers can't get enough of it.

She started making sushi in the mid 1970's at a fish market in Fresno California.  A decade later, Motoko  opened up her own restaurant and called it 'Inaka Sushi'. Her daughter says she named it Inaka because it means country and Motoko is from the countryside, born in Hiroshima Japan.

When her husband passed in 1981 she never remarried. She dedicated her life to her two kids and to making sushi. When it became too much to run a restaurant by herself, Motoko closed it and started working as a chef somewhere else.  Since then, she no longer worries about all the responsibilities that come with running a restaurant. She only focuses on making those wonderful, exotic dishes.

It's refreshing to see a woman her age have such a strong following in the sushi world.  Go to any sushi restaurant and look for female chefs. They are hard to come by. 

Yes, I know they exist but not too many.  And if you ask those female chefs how difficult it was to be allowed behind the sushi bar, they will give you an earful.  Women have not been welcomed into this predominantly male profession.  There have been plenty of excuses thrown out for not wanting women chefs.  The number one reason given is that female hands are warmer than a male's and they will destroy the flavor of the fish and rice.  Women chefs say that's not true.  There's also the excuse that a sushi bar is a sacred place and it would be ruined by the presence of a woman. Really?!

Motoko's daughter says her mom laughs it all off. She's way too busy to give it any credence.  After all, Motoko has too many hungry customers to feed. 

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