The Zen of Sushi

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After judging a messy "sushi-off" between Jason Austell and Marianne Kushi, head Chef Robert Ruiz from Harney Sushi in Oceanside took time to chat about sushi and tattoos.

Inscribed on his knuckles are the words, “GOD'S PLAN,” as he carefully cuts the “inside out” rolls expertly crafted by Jason and Marianne. Chef Ruiz notes how Jason’s sushi is packed with lots of spicy tuna, reflecting his manly persona. Then, points to the gentle way the sprouts are placed in Marianne’s, underlining her dainty flair.  
Personality is definitely something Chef Ruiz has a lot of, as well as passion for his craft.
“I’m single, I have no kids, I’m literally living in the restaurant and all I do is sushi – all day, every day. You know? I’m just extremely passionate about it,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz studied at the University of Hawaii and touts making sushi for the princess of Japan.
“She licked the plate clean,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz describes the art of making sushi, from the precise butchering of fish to a risky relationship between him and the Shun and Masamoto knives at the table.
“The knives on the cutting board, it’s like a wife and a girlfriend, you know? You’re living with them and praying that they don’t cut you,” Ruiz said.
No stranger to blood, about sixty percent of his body is inked up. His love for tattoos almost outweighs his love for sushi, which he wrote a fifteen-page thesis on during college. Ruiz traced the art form and tradition of tattooing back to its Hawaiian heritage. 
Personally, Ruiz just wants people to be happy. He asks guests, “You have a favorite fish? You like spicy or not spicy?” Simply put, he creates what he feels would make people happy.
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