“You had me at Sushi” is all I could think of when I saw my delegate invite to attend the International Sushi Training Workshop 2016!
A one of kind event organized by the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations ( IFCA ) in association with JETRO, at ITC Gardenia, Bangalore.
A sushi masterclass provided by renowned Chef Masayoshi Kazato ( Also the ED of All Japan Sushi Association ) and his son Chef Hideo Kazato. The Incredible Sushi Chefs had been specially brought by the good folks of IFCA. And what an incredible workshop it was!
“What is so technical about sushi? It is just rice , raw fish and seaweed …..and wasabi !” – a sentence you’ll never hear anyone say!! One of the most refined, technique driven food made with some of the most simplest of ingredients in the world. You either love it or don’t – there is no mid-way with this legendary Japanese food.
I love it and also having made it at home a couple of times ( veg versions at home), I was really excited about this event. To learnt from the Grand Master while sitting the company of some of the best in the field of Culinary Arts , was almost overwhelming.
Not only for perseverance and endurance, a ‘Hachimaki can also be worn to depict enthusiasm & a strong sense of pride. It made perfect sense to see him wear one at the beginning of the session – a man who aho has probably devoted his entire life to perfecting sushi.
Watch him make sushi with some small, masterly yet gracefully was an experience. His movements were swift and effortless – signs of an accomplished and skilled “Itamae“. It was amazing to listen to him speak about sushi with such passion and pride.
Also, it turns out that this incredible powerhouse of talent is also a funny man! Quite a charmer too. His sense of humour and wit garnered his immensely informative talk on the cuisine of the Japan, the history of Sushi, sushi appreciation , and throughout the demonstration.
Knife skills are generally difficult to master and particularly Japanese /Sushi Knife skills are more dreaded in nature. It is not enough to have the the right knife , but it the knife skills that makes a Sushi chef. To watch him and his son almost surgically de-bone and slice a fish was magical ( something I can only aspire to do this in this life!) It reminded me of Jiro (from Jiro dreams of Sushi – a must watch for all sushi lovers btw) – and I was incredibly amazed to see that for real.
Apparently, there is a japanese proverb that says ‘ a woman’s hands are too warm to make sushi ‘ – which is not true, btw. Aside of good knife skills, to make a sushi one needs a lot ( I mean a lot! ) of cold running water. Because it is all about basic hygiene & cleanliness. A critical aspect he touched upon many many times during the workshop The fish is raw and utmost care must be given while making it. And that reason alone, it is not surprising to see people at home making vegetarian sushi and going out to specialized sushi places for the non vegetarian sushi.
His son, an accomplished Sushi Chef himself, partnered with him during this workshop.
Like father like son!
Some interesting facts that I learned:
- Sushi was brought into Japan from Thailand, Laos. Initially made with only marinated river fish – slowly progressed into using fresh sea fish, roe and prawns.
- Vinegar , yeast , ginger , sake, soy , mirin are used not only for flavour but also for health/ hygiene benefits. The acid / ph from these ingredients help kill any bacteria that may be in these fish.
- It is mandatory to wear white when you are making sushi.
- The shine on the sushi rice comes from drizzling vinegar on them and gently rubbing the uncooked but rinsed grains together.
- Sign of good knife skill is when the fillet/slice has at the imprint of the bone.
More glimpses of the workshop :
Aside of all the Sushi learning , what I also discovered was about ICFA. The consortium of associations that it is, its functions, its vision and most importantly the incredible job it is doing to put India on the global culinary map. Kudos to the chief and each & everyone working towards its success. Truly, another great example of the India Shining ❤
Thank you ICFA and JETRO for making this happen!
Well, from now on this man is going to be my Sushi kitchen-fairy-godfather…standing right next to Jiro!