The Pursuit of Perfection

The Pursuit of Perfection

Japan | 2021 | 79 min | Toshimichi Saito

April 15 - 16, 2022

Four leading chefs in Japan today reveal their meticulous approach to crafting dishes—including ingredients, aesthetics, and spiritual cultivation—in this exploration of the truth behind Japan’s unique and sophisticated food culture.

Come hungry, leave hungrier. With over 60,000 restaurants vying for attention, Tokyo’s food scene is teeming with restaurateurs striving to break from the pack. Four highly decorated chefs—Takemasa Shinohara (Ginza Shinohara), Natsuko Shoji (Été), Yosuke Suga (Sugalabo), and Takaaki Sugita (Sushi Sugita)—invite a closer look into the ambition, care, and immense respect for food that catapulted each of them to renown. Fashion, art, French culinary masters, martial arts, and the Japanese countryside serve as inspiration for sumptuous dishes in this documentary resplendent with eye-catching food both deceptively simple and artistically ornate. From kaiseki (traditional Japanese cuisine) to French-inspired cuisine to desserts to Edo sushi, each type of food receives ample love from the camera and chefs alike as ingredients, preparation, and customer satisfaction are highlighted through intimate camera work. Short interviews from gastronomists and food writers interspersed with each chef’s culinary story paint a holistic picture of the trials of a competitive industry as well as the chefs’ unique love for what they do.

— Janae Brooks

  • Director: Toshimichi Saito
  • Principal Cast: Takemasa Shinohara, Natsuko Shoji, Yosuke Suga, Takaaki Sugita
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Japan
  • Year: 2021
  • Running Time: 79 min
  • Producer: John Hirai, Yashuhito Naake, Tom Yoda, Akihiko Yose
  • Screenplay: Toshimichi Saito
  • Cinematographers: Shinnosuke Fukushima
  • Editors: Toshimichi Saito, Madoka Miyazaki
  • Music: Dylan Glatthorn
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: GAGA Corporation