Skewer shrimp so they don’t curl when you boil them.
Use the bamboo sushi mat to shape, not roll.
The difference between maki, nigiri, and sashimi.
Rice cookers are amazing.
We both look cute in aprons.
When I bought tickets for the Crate Cooking School Sushi class, I figured we’d learn how to roll sushi and that’s about where my expectations ended. To me, it still sounded like a great deal! Help us learn to make some fun treats to bring to dinner parties! It was also a bit of a risky Christmas gift, since I was basing my purchase on a handful of greatly varied Facebook & Yelp reviews. As it turns out, for two wannabe kitchen masters, the class was the perfect combination of tips, tricks, and confidence building. Oh, and a stomach-bursting amount of sushi (we’ll get to that soon).
As we walked in, a cheerful woman greeted us with coffee & tea, which sounded delightful on a rainy day. She ushered us into a room with a few tables and chairs draped with black aprons. Dave & I smiled sheepishly and tied them on before helping ourselves to a hot drink. Finally, after the rest of the class filtered in, we heard a quick sales pitch which involved some of the products we used in class and Chef Jeremy arrived. With a bit of history and terminology, we were off into the world of sushi!
After we walked into the kitchen, we divided into groups, elementary-school style. Each team of 4-5 found a set of cutting boards, knives, bowls, etc at their stations and Jeremy assured us we could use any other utensils we needed – (ie the perfect time to try out some super sharp, expensive knives). As we all looked on, he demonstrated each of the steps, from cooking the rice to making the cucumber salad, in a way that felt relatable to near-total n00bs like us.
What We Learned
1. Back to Basics
First, we walked through the skill we assumed we already knew – how to cook rice. Apparently, it’s supposed to be very thoroughly rinsed before it’s cooked. And stirring is bad. News to us! We were also surprised to learn the recipe called for sugar and even a very specific kind of rice (again – TOTAL n00bs here). After rice-cooking humbled us, we rebuilt some confidence cutting cucumbers under the tutelage of Chef Jeremy. It all came together on the mat. The cooled, seasoned rice, the veggies, and the fish, were all set around us at the station. Dave stepped up to the plate first, dipping his fingers into the water and pressing a ball of rice into the nori. We decided to be merciful (to ourselves and our “classmates” who would ultimately eat our sushi rolls) and spread wasabi sparingly.
Dave learned the most during the actual rolling of the sushi. Chef Jeremy created his sushi easily by hand – only using the mat to shape it afterward. We were both surprised to find that the stickiness of the rice made rolling that much simpler. We assumed the opposite!
3. Love Stuff
Teamwork is a fun date! We cook together almost every Wednesday, so we’re not new to the concept of cooking + learning = BONDING. Also, aprons are sexy and we want all the cool cooking tools – specifically the breakfast-oriented ones.
What We Loved
1. Chef Jeremy
Equal parts entertaining and informative. While I’m usually happy to learn a new dish from Pinterest or YouTube, there’s something to be said for hands-on, in-person training. He happily answered our questions and the helpful tips sprinkled throughout the class were more than you could ever gather while attempting an obscure recipe online.
2. Our Partners
We’re both a bit introverted, so we loved being pushed out of our comfort zone by partnering with a few other classmates to make the rolls. Our partners were a father and son duo from a neighborhood close to Dave’s, and the son was a 13-year-old with big dreams of becoming a chef. Watching his enthusiasm was just as enjoyable as perfecting our rolling technique!
3. The Sushi (duh)
The moment we were truly waiting for – the final product! We lined up at least 7 trays of sushi in the main room and with plates in hand, we lined up to feast.
Note: Remember when we said we were merciful with the wasabi? Well, little did we know the courtesy was not returned. No hard feelings, fellow classmates…None at all….
After our adventure at the Crate Cooking School sushi class, we tried out our skills for dinner. To our surprise, we did pretty well! We did learn that white sushi rice is critical (I tried brown…way to go) and that wasabi helps add a needed kick to vegetarian rolls. Needless to say, we’re excited to break these out at a dinner party staple to show off our skills!
And finally buy those aprons in our Amazon shopping cart 😀