The History Of Omakase
Omakase お任せ is derived from the verb makaseru 任せる , which means to trust. The guests give the chef control over their meal. The ideogram 任 conveys the values of responsibility, burden, duty, deadline, trust and task.
Did you know that the Sushi dining experience wasn't available to everyone in Japan until the 1990s?
The phrase is said to have originated in sushi restaurants, where it gained recognition in the 1990s.
Sushi restaurants had a significant barrier to entry until the 1990s. They could be pricey, and it was typical for food connoisseurs who knew their fish to enjoy the fine artistry of sushi. Out of respect for the expertise of the sushi chefs, this act was done without consuming much alcohol.
How did Omakase become popular?
When the bubble economy in Japan started to emerge. With the increasing income came a large influx of new customers to sushi restaurants. They had pockets full of cash, but knew little about the "high culture" of sushi. Despite not knowing anything about fish, they had a great inclination towards the dining experience. They wanted various side dishes and alcoholic beverages, unlike the previous type of guest.
How The Sushi Culture Evolved To Omakase?
The sushi culture evolved as a result of the change that the consumers were looking for. Customers enjoyed sake and side dishes with their meals. There were instances when the newcomers could not place an order and decided to leave it to the chef. This spared them the shame of not knowing a specific fish name, particularly when seasonal fish were served. Hence, "Omakase" was created to help them save face.
Omakase was widely preferred by chefs as well, as it allowed them to serve fish and other products that they had on hand without having to apologize to clients when they weren't available. Additionally, it was simpler for clients to simply leave everything up to their dependable restaurant hosts and continue speaking with their friends and coworkers rather than having to make particular selections.