Requirements: A sushi chef needs to be talkative and pro-active, because chatting with customers is a major part of the job - besides making sushi. Basic knowledge of the Japanese culture and language is essential for a professional sushi chef. Qualifications: If you are aiming to work for a high-end or traditional Japanese restaurant, you will have to undergo extensive training. Sushi chains, on the other hand, often hire newcomers to the industry and offer entry-level training, providing an easier way to start your career. Some secondary school education will likely be an advantage. Hong Kong does not have any sushi training schools. You will need to go to Japan for professional training of this kind. Average pay: An apprentice should expect a starting salary of about HK$6,500 per month. Salaries are often adjusted and you can expect to be earning about HK$9,000 per month after three years. Sushi chefs with more than 10 years' experience often open a restaurant of their own or in partnership with investors. Work prospects: Most sushi chefs start out as apprentices in a restaurant. The head chef will allocate duties to apprentices. To become a successful sushi chef, the candidate must be sensitive, hygiene conscious, focused, hard-working, and willing to learn and take on all the various tasks involved in running a sushi bar. These tasks include cleaning - the very first duty of an apprentice when they start. An apprentice who pays attention to details will be more likely to succeed. The quality of a piece of sushi is based on the freshness of the fish and how well it is prepared, which is all about the chef's technique. Great sushi chefs prepare sushi with their heart and soul. Hard-working apprentices who throw their heart into the job will quickly graduate onto more advanced tasks such as handling and cutting the fish under the supervision of the head chef. Those who do not show enough commitment will be given duties such as shredding and cutting radishes. This is not about rewarding or punishing apprentices for their performance, but about ensuring that the sushi served to customers is as well prepared as possible - nobody wants a customer choking on fish bones. Long-term prospects: A hard-working apprentice can expect to be making simple sushi items, such as egg or sea urchin sushi within a year or two. After several years they can make sushi with fish. After 10 or more years of making sushi and sourcing fish, and with a solid customer base, sushi chefs can consider starting their own restaurant business. Where to apply: Sushi bars or sushi chains. A day in the life of a sushi chef Wong Lui, head chef at Rokkaku Japanese Restaurant in Wan Chai, says his career is more popular among men than women. He describes it as a smelly job that not many women would probably choose as a career. Wong started his sushi career at 18 as an apprentice at a sushi chain. Later he received training from a Japanese chef. In his 30s, he now runs Rokkaku. He and his staff begin their day at around 10.30am, preparing materials for lunch. They take a break at 3pm. Preparations for the evening begin at 5pm and sushi is usually served until 11pm or midnight.