Utah Sushi Maker a Rare Find

Utah Sushi Maker a Rare Find

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Debbie Dujanovic ReportingShe's a mother of two, runs her own business, and holds a prestigious honor. When it comes to women with unique jobs, Peggy Whiting might just take the cake. As Debbie Dujanovic reports, she's a female sushi chef making it big in what's still considered a "man's" world.

Peggy Whiting knows she's "rare" in the world of sushi. The Utah resident fell in love with fish, sushi, and the art of creating a great meal in the 80's.

Peggy Whiting, Ichiban Sushi: "It was one of those fluke things. A friend of mine back in high school owned a sushi restaurant and they asked me to help, and I've been cooking ever since."

Even in the 1980's Sushi circles didn't permit women. Tradition held a woman's hands were three-degrees warmer than a man's, which would ruin the taste. Peggy flew to Tokyo to train, but the chef's there were skeptical too.

Peggy Whiting, Ichiban Sushi: "They would let me fillet the fish in the afternoon, but then when it was time to open up they'd say, ‘No you go in the back and clean this, that's what a woman is supposed to do, women are not supposed to make sushi’"

After weeks they finally let her serve the customers. She's been rolling rice and raw fish ever since. That was 16 years ago, still today, she's one of only five female sushi chefs in the world, trained in Tokyo.

Now Tokyo journalists are warming up to her, featuring her Salt Lake restaurant, Ichiban Sushi, in Japan.

Peggy Whiting, Ichiban Sushi: “It’s me doing something that I love and makes people happy.”

That's her secret recipe she says, helping her overcome the odds, to build her own success story.

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