Sunday, June 27, 2010

Learning How to Make Sushi with Chef Nikki Gilbert

I love sushi, but most sushi restaurants serve mediocre sushi. Plus, they are not cheap. I enjoy cooking and learning new recipes, so I decided to sign up a sushi class at the Epicurean School of Culinary Arts to learn how to make my own sushi. This way, I can control the quality of my ingredients, be cost effective, and it would be lots of fun to make them for my family and friends.

The class is being taught by Chef Nikki Gilbert, aka The Sushi Girl (also check out her blog under "My Recommendations" on the right). Chef Nikki worked and lived in Japan for a number of years, so she knows everything you need to know about sushi. During the class, she demystified many misconceptions Americans have about sushi. It was very educational and eye opening for me.

To start, Nikki showed us how to prepare the sushi rice, which is an important part of making great tasting sushi. She shared with us that good sushi means warm sushi rice with cool sashimi (raw fish). If the rice is cold, it is not good sushi.

The first sushi we learned to make was cucumber sushi maki rolls. Nikki says that in Japan, cucumber sushi is actually a very common dish vs. the American misconception that cucumber sushi is "low grade" or "nothing." She showed us how to cut cucumbers correctly so we can taste its freshness, and how to prepare our sushi rolling mat or makisu. Here's my station and the cucumber sticks I made, with my makisu ready to go.