Trend Hunter Video About Sushi Making For The Soul

Another great addition to the collection of reviews about the sushi classes and hints of a massive personal project in the works with children and food literacy around the world.

Check out the wildly creative Trend Hunter video here.

New format for signing up for Levels I and II. Go to the Classes tab for details.

“Since becoming a popular international cuisine only a few decades ago, sushi has become a household name and Sang Kim, owner of the Yakitori Bar, is trying to make sure this nutritional food stays for good.

Most people experience sushi only when dining out, but Kim, owner of the recently opened Yakitori Bar in Toronto, is using all of his culinary knowledge and skills to make this healthy delicacy available the one place it absolutely should be.

Also the creator of the Yakitori Bar’s Sushi Making for the Soul class, Kim teaches attendants the techniques and history behind this centuries old culinary art form.

Since he is also interested in enlightening immigrant youths and families about the nutritional benefits of this delicious cost-effective cuisine, Sang gave the Trend Hunter team a tasty and educational introduction into the art of sushi making.” Brandon Bastaldo

Sushi Making For The Soul Of Ugandan Children

My love of observing children making discoveries for the very first time answers the perennial question of why I, paradoxically, also get a kick out of conducting classes to a room full of adults. Most of my classes, both onsite and away, comprise of adults who, after overcoming the initial unsettling feeling of doing something new, display the same quality of enthusiasm and playfulness that I so much enjoy watching in children. This cannot be helped, I guess, especially in the Level I Makimono class, because there is something about dipping your hands in water, smooshing a riceball across a sheet of nori, creatively blending in available ingredients, and that self-congratulatory posture bordering on narcissism when the roll has been finished, that seems to revive some dormant inner child in us time-worn people. It hearkens back to those less encumbered days when we squished Playdoh between our fingers and fingerpainted on the wall. And it seems to lend a kind of solace to those of us who may feel that time and experience has all but worn away any traces of the “childish” in us. I hear it all the time- from banking executives to housewives to one grandfather who was “dragged” all the way from Owen Sound by his granddaughter to try sushi for the first time- about how fun the class was, how much for granted they took the simple pleasures derived from coordinating their hands, eyes, and heart; alas, how they took for granted the simple pleasures of acting like children again.

Recently, I was asked to emcee an event for The Nggaali Project, a fundraising gala whose ultimate purpose was to bring the children of Uganda and Canada together under “one roof”. It was held at the Daniels Spectrum theatre in the recently revived Regent Park area of Toronto.  It was a grand night of dancing and singing and dining, all in the name of sharing with people across the pond.

IMG_0548IMG_0528Nggaali Project photoIMG_0544Skype with Ugandan kids

It was thrilling to see these young faces beaming across the computer screen from someone’s backyard in Kampala, enjoying the festivities in their honour with us over Skype. I decided then and there that I wanted to conduct a sushi making class with these very children who had never heard of, not to speak of, tasted, sushi. So, with the director of Nggaali Kids, Maylynn Quan, who will be making her way to Uganda in March, it was settled: I would teach them how to make sushi all for the narcissistic pleasure of watching these children make new discoveries. They loved the idea over there as well. The date for this momentous event will be in late April and it will be held at Yakitori Bar. I would be assisted by children over here, who would participate as sushi makers on this side. I would also need to find ingredients that work appropriately for a Ugandan palate- they get squeamish at the idea of raw fish. All exciting stuff. Oh, and very childish of course; ergo, utterly meaningful fun…

Sushi Making For the SEOUL of Koreans

Hello all sushi lovers!

I will be opening a new restaurant on December 1st, 2012 and conducting my sushi-making classes from there. It’s in a great location in downtown Toronto, beautiful and intimate (1 Baldwin Street, at McCaul, one block north of the AGO).  I have started a blog that traces the development of the restaurant, called HOW TO OPEN A RESTAURANT IN 30 DAYS. You can click on the link below, which is about me having THE sashimi experience of my life in Korea. There will be two classes in December. Stay tuned in the “Classes” tab of this site or “follow” for immediate posted dates. Thank you all for your interest in my classes!


Sushi Making For The Soul of Garlic Lovers

Phtoto Courtesy of Eye Candy Toronto

I was invited to the Toronto Garlic Festival to present a talk on “Garlic and Racial Discrimination”, as well as present sashimi that incorporates garlic. Tough to do since throughout its history, the Japanese seldom used garlic in their dishes- in fact despised the smell of it- especially so when it came to their sushi. With a deeper shovel, though, I discovered that there was a small island, Shinkoku, off the east coast of Kyushu, that had been using garlic for hundreds of years without mainlanders knowing about it. They put it in virtually everything they ate. It was also a place that had abundant bonito (skipjack tuna) off its coast. So, “Tosa-style” refers to anything that uses bonito-infused soy sauce. It is often served to accompany sashimi. For the festival, I marinated albacore tuna and Bay of Fundy salmon in Tosa soy and garlic, then topped it off with chopped onions.

Lucy Waverman, Food Editor of The Globe and Mail, wrote it into her latest column for the paper, as well as her popular blog, so that you can enjoy it at home. Enjoy!  TOSA-STYLE SALMON RECIPE.

Photo Courtesy of Eye Candy Toronto
Photo Courtesy of Eye Candy Toronto

Sushi Making For The Soul Of Women’s Groups

Most of my classes are mix-gendered; the ratio is about 70% female, 30% male. Many of the males in my classes complain of being “dragged” to the classes by their female counterparts. Or the emotionally-neutral euphemism is used: “it’s a date”.  I have, however, held many  sushi-making classes exclusively for women- from playful stagettes to the most serious causes around women’s issues (ie. comfort women). I enjoy these because they are always edifying and fun, with plenty of good-natured jokes coming at the expense of the males not in the room.

Like most activities they engage in, men and women behave differently when making sushi. So, at the risk of making sweeping generalizations (oh, why the heck not?) , here are 5 salient differences (proudly unscientific) I have noticed between women and men in my classes:

1. Women appear to enjoy making sushi more than the men. They are much more at ease around the rice and other ingredients. They are the first ones to break the ice with strangers, offer compliments, crack a joke- lowering the initial tension level at the table. I have many more photos of women smiling than men in my classes.

2. Women are process-driven.  They recognize that every step in the sushi-making process is equal to every other. They are the ones to ask, “Am I doing this part right?” or “I should have folded it here and not there, huh?”. Men, on the other hand, are eager to just get the thing over with and show me the final product, “So, whaddya think?”.

3. Women take a lot more pictures. They spend a disproportionate amount of time finding the best angle to snap a photo. When the men are chomping down on the finished (and admittedly less photogenic) product, the women are sending Instagrams of their creations onto their Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook pages.

4.  Women make it an event. They dress up (many of them don high heels), bring fancier wines with them, want the volume of the music turned up when the room gets going.  It’s a night out; they are going to truly enjoy themselves. Men dress up too, but it is usually because they would look a bit foolish beside their partners if they didn’t. As for the only examples of sweatpants and tops I have seen worn at my classes: all three of them were men.

5.  Women network effectively. At the end of every class, it is inevitable. The women are engaged in animated conversation in the middle of the room, exchanging business cards and cell numbers, while the men hover around the perimeter, waiting. The women are the ones who send me ‘thank you’ emails and request virtual connections with others who were in the same class.

Recently, I had a women-only class at the BCE Place in Toronto’s business district. It was a networking event, organized by the real estate giant, Cushman & Wakefield,  and generously sponsored by Evian and Select Wines.  Thirty of the most talented business people I had ever met gathered in an office space on the 15th floor, overlooking the city skyline. These women embodied all five of traits above to a tee. A fabulous night was had by all, followed by many thoughtful “thank you” emails.

Thanks, ladies!