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Celebrity Chefs

Sushi master: Women can’t be sushi chefs because they get periods

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Jiro Ono inspects son Yoshikazu Ono's knife skills in a clip from "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." (YouTube/Movieclips Trailers)

Why aren’t there more female sushi chefs?

It all has to do with biology, according to sushi master Jiro Ono’s son Yoshikazu.

After the premiere of the 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” featuring the famous chef, the Wall Street Journal wanted to know what made a world-class sushi maker.  When asked why not a single female chef appeared in the documentary,  Ono's son, who works alongside his father in the three-star Michelin rated Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo’s Ginza station responded:

“The reason is because women menstruate. To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs.”

Though the interview is over four years old, several media outlets recently brought it to light.  But Yoshikazu may not be alone his belief.

Other food professionals say that women’s makeup and perfume “interfere with olfactory senses” when preparing food or that they can't hack the long hours in the kitchen. But the number one reason why women fail at sushi making, according the NY Times, is that their warm hands will make the sushi rice too warm.

Getting more female chefs isn't just a Japanese problem. It's global issue that knife-wielding women are still fighting today.