Why I Love Making Sushi More than Eating it?
(Originally posted on Huffpost)
When I started being a Sushi chef nineteen years ago, I had no idea how to make Sushi Rice, how to cut Maguro, fillet Kanpachi, make California Roll, Dragon Roll, Shrimp Tempura roll make Sashimi and Nigiri.
I enjoyed every step in learning all the techniques associated with Making Sushi. I love it because I met so many great Sushi Chefs who taught me what I know today. I am ever so grateful for them. I regret I never had a chance to really say "Thank you!" to them.
Many of them told me about mise en place of Sushi, how to take care of my tools, especially knives. They taught me how to be efficient in the kitchen and, most importantly, how to work cleanly at the Sushi Bar. I was a very messy chef when I started.
I enjoy filleting fish like Tai Snapper. I love that sound my knife makes when I place it and slide through its bones to separate the meat. I got excited every time I go pick up the fish from our fish supplier, and they tell me, "Kaz, we got a nice local King Salmon in today, and they are really beautiful."
I love it when I pick up that Salmon, take it back to the kitchen, cure it in sugar and salt, as it changes the color.
I love finding out new fish like Scallops from New Jersey, which I think is the sweetest scallops I've ever tasted. It's so perfect that it requires nothing more than little lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
I love the smell of Sushi Vinegar evaporating as I pour it over steaming hot short-grain rice in Hangiri, a wooden sushi rice mixing tub. I love it when it cools down and starts to taste good after several hours.
I love curing Saba, Mackerel in vinegar for two to three hours, always guessing how long to marinate, taking out, tasting it, and putting it back, taking out again to figure out the perfect marinating time. I love it more when Saba tastes even better the following day after its marinated.
When working at a Sushi Bar, I loved the interaction with the Sushi Bar Customers. I love getting to know the regulars, finding out their likes so that I could save some special fish for them when they arrived. I love watching regulars smiling, being happy eating the Sushi I make. I loved it when they said Thank you at the end of the meal.
I love the simplicity of a Nigiri, yet how difficult it is to make it. I love its complexity and depth. Every time I make it, it teaches me the lesson, "Sometimes, the simplest thing can be the most difficult to master."
I love Nigiri because there is nothing to hide. I love "slicing" Sashimi because it's so simple and yet so hard to do it properly.
As a business owner of Breakthrough Sushi, I love it when our clients send us nice Holiday Cards every year. I love it when some of the clients call us back to hire us for their private Sushi Dinner. It's so intimate and I love that.
I love it when I see their happy faces when I say, "It's nice to see you again."