Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sushi Class

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Last night, Warren and I attended Jimmy Ishii's Sushi Making Class at the Viking Cooking School. I purchased the class as a birthday present for Warren back in October, but due to his busy travel schedule, we didn't actually get to attend until last night.

He was originally excited about it, but as the time grew nearer, I could tell he was starting to think it was going to suck. (I once signed him up for a vegetarian cooking class and he was insulted.) This is exactly why I signed myself up too. I figured that even if the class was too easy for him, he might enjoy having me pick up a few new skills and/or take pleasure in watching me flail about in someone else's kitchen.

As soon as we walked into the Viking School, Warren's eyes lit up. The foyer is actually a shop chock full of fancy kitchen gadgets. As he browsed, I peeked through the glass to get a glimpse of Mr. Ishii and scope out the scene. The kitchen classroom was quite impressive and I could tell that we were in for a treat.

A woman on the Viking staff invited us all in and motioned for us to have a seat at a large dining table. There were about ten of us, I think. The woman encouraged us to nibble on cheese and crackers as she introduced Mr. Ishii. He was very amicable and not at all stuck up. (I doubt that can be said for all millionaires!)

Jimmy told us a little about himself and his restaurants and then discussed the key ingredients in sushi. He asked the class a lot of questions, and as you might imagine, it didn't take Warren long to establish himself as star student. Despite being fairly educated on the subject, I'd say that we still learned a lot about how to pick out fresh ingredients--rice, fish, fruits/vegetables, and seaweed.

After this discussion, Jimmy led us over to a large table where we all had our own little sushi station. We took our spots as he demonstrated how to do a inside out roll, regular roll, big roll, hand roll, and nigiri. He made it look so easy, I actually thought I had a chance. Ha!

We pretty much had free reign to put whatever we wanted in our rolls. As we worked, Jimmy made a large platter for the kitchen staff and several dishes (house cucumber roll w/nori, spicy tuna tower, and salmon/tuna sashimi) for us to enjoy at the end of the sushi making portion of the evening.

Jimmy warned us that there were two major mistakes in sushi making: 1) Getting your hands too wet and 2) Trying to cram too much stuff into the rolls.

My hands were too dry if anything and I definitely had problems over-packing my nori. (Probably because it was after 7pm and I hadn't eaten dinner.) I took a "what the hell" attitude and just tried to have fun with it. My rolls looked pretty sad, but not THAT sad. It was my first attempt! (My one roll that was so big it required two pieces of nori was named the Godzilla Doo-Doo roll. See if you can guess which one it is in the pictures!)

Warren, of course, made near perfect rolls and followed Jimmy's directions to a T. When Jimmy sliced his rolls, I heard him say under his breath, "Wow, this is good."

Yay, Warren!

In general, the class seemed to be having fun and Jimmy was very gracious with his help. When everyone was done, we went back to the table to eat what we had made (about 4-5 rolls each) as well as the yummy dishes Jimmy made. While we ate, Jimmy discussed sushi etiquette, which I found to be quite interesting. It seems the major faux pas that most Americans make is mixing wasabi in the soy sauce for dipping. Apparently this causes the wasabi's hotness to go directly to the nose making it impossible to actually taste the sushi. It is more polite to put wasabi on the sushi itself.

By the end we were all stuffed and satisfied by a job well done. We had sushi leftover to share with the monkeys when we got home and we got to keep our aprons. Best of all we got a 10% discount in the culinary shop and on future classes. We couldn't resist signing up for the advanced sushi class on February 13th.


Stephanie said...

But did your apron have your name on it?

Really though, that sounds amazing!

susan said...

If anyone is interested in cooking, the Viking classes are great. I have taken so many, I've run out of places to store the aprons.

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