Most of the traits may seem small and tedious. The fact is that sushi preparation is made up of hundreds of small and (what may seem) tedious daily routines. One can easily skip those routines if one wants to. What makes the difference at the end of the day is one's willpower to hold on to his discipline to do all those small steps. Ultimately, it is an accumulation of those daily routines that will make a good sushi chef into a great one.
Depends on the culture. In this answer I will focus on modern French, modern European, and one of a number of American "passes". How and when food is served in which order is as much a function of the season as it is the chef's idea of what to serve when and the diner's decision how to have it presented.
I have only had a few bottles of wine over 50 years old but it is always [memorable] because the sensual experience is enhanced by the ruminations on what was happening when the wine was made. From a tasting perspective, I have had a bunch of wines from the 60s and I think that experience is similar.
First of all, the preparation time is comparable for most dishes in a typical restaurant. Each can be put together in somewhere between 4-10 minutes. Restaurant kitchens do a lot of prep work in advance, all the chopping and sorting things into containers, everything that doesn't need cooking over a flame or arranging on the plate.
Basically, the goal is to convert grocery store ingredients into tasty meals without the convenience of a kitchen full of appliances, utensils, and seasonings. You want to be able to go to the grocery store and get ingredients in small enough portions that you can use them all, without having to buy a million little things.
For the week before the buffet, you have to begin conditioning your tummy. What this means is that for at least one meal a day, eat till you're full (even if it's just bread) and when you think you're full, drink as much water as you can. This is to prepare your stomach to stretch like never before.