Cheng Chuk-ming, 30, senior sushi chef at Itamae Sushi, has 10 years of experience in the industry and thinks humbleness and devotion are the key ingredients to making a successful sushi chef. I used to work as an air-conditioning technician, but my uncle advised me to work in the sushi industry as there were growing opportunities there. I took his advice and it changed my life and gave me new direction in my career. Before I joined this company (Itamae Sushi) as a senior sushi chef two years ago, I had worked for other leading sushi restaurants such as Genki Sushi and Iccho Japanese restaurant, for a total of five years. Each chef at Itamae Sushi works a nine-hour shift and all our shops operate three or four shifts every day to make sure there are always enough chefs. When I work the early shift, which starts at 9am, I have to do a lot of preparation work such as checking stock levels to make sure we have enough food and ingredients for the day. I also have to make sure the food is fresh, the kitchen hygienic, and that our working area and utensils comply with regulations. My company has nine conveyor-belt sushi outlets across Hong Kong. As a senior chef I have to attend a weekly meeting with management and all senior chefs from our other sushi shops, where we review the latest business situation, operation procedures and customers' responses, and discuss new menus. The company emphasises the importance of training for its chefs. At any one time there are four or five experienced Japanese chefs working with us at different shops, who teach us not only their skills, but also show us how to operate a sushi bar in the genuine Japanese way. I learn a lot from observing and talking to them. Itamae Sushi sends local chefs to our shops in Japan to receive training and I look forward to that opportunity. In Japan, it takes a sushi chef at least three years to master the skill of cooking rice. Being humble and hard-working is the most important element of being a successful sushi chef. It will keep you learning new skills and enhance your knowledge. I also learn from reading books about my profession. One major area of my responsibility is to train junior chefs and I find this the greatest challenge in my job. It requires patience and time. Young people have their own ways of thinking and are resistant to what you say. When I train them I want them to follow my instructions. Whenever I see them using the skills I have passed on it is very satisfying. Normally a junior sushi chef in Hong Kong needs one to two years to master the basic skills. My job gives me the opportunity to meet customers from all walks of life, some of whom have become my friends. When customers ask me questions about sushi, I do my best to provide them with answers, explain the skills and knowledge involved in sushi making, and try to recommend some new dishes for them to try. I feel satisfied when they like my recommendations and keep coming back for more.