The secret sushi chef

Akiko Ben-Zvi learned the art of sushi behind closed doors, then opened her Japanese kitchen to Israel.

By
January 15, 2015 17:40
Akiko Ben-Zvi

Akiko Ben-Zvi. (photo credit: ITIEL ZION)

Akiko Ben-Zvi, 45, speaks fluent Hebrew with a lilting Japanese accent. Her two Tel Aviv eateries, both named Akiko Japanese Sushi Bar, serve sushi the way she learned to make it from a veteran Japanese chef.

In Japan, women aren’t allowed to apprentice in traditional sushi kitchens; but Ben-Zvi, already married to Shay, an Israeli, and mother of three, was determined to learn. She traveled from Tel Aviv to her home town, Kumamoto, a village in the southern island of Kyushu, and wangled an education in the art of sushi from a close friend of her father’s.

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