WANT TO GO?
Beginners sushi making
WHERE: Uncork and Create, 1031 Quarrier St.
WHEN: 6 p.m. today
TICKETS: $40 (registration required)
INFO: 304-552-3331 or www.uncorkandcreate.com
By Bill Lynch
oe Reckard doesn’t think the sushi making class at Uncork and Create tonight during Artwalk is going to turn anyone into a full-fledged sushi artist. The Greenhouse of Teays Valley chef laughed and said, “It takes years to become a sushi master. It’s a real art form. And if you were an apprentice in the sushi business, you’d spend the first three to five years of your time just washing rice before you’d be allowed to actually cut ingredients.”
The sushi making class is something The Greenhouse of Teays Valley offers occasionally, though Reckard doesn’t consider himself an expert — just an informed hobbyist with some experience. Long before he was running a restaurant, he was a food fan and student.
“No matter what kind of actual job I had, I’ve always taken culinary classes,” he said. “Even when I had jobs at General Electric or E.F. Hutton, I worked in restaurants on the side and met people who taught me a lot.”
One of those people was a Japanese sushi chef who went by the Americanized name of Stephen.
“He was a friend, and he got me started with rolling sushi,” Reckard said.
His education was by no means formal, but Reckard thought he’d learned enough to pass along to other hobbyists.
“The hope is they’ll feel comfortable enough that they could have their own sushi party,” he said.
But not enough to open up their own sushi bar.
He said, “For Thursday, we’ll just be focusing on the roll. I’ll show them how to make an inside-out roll, a California roll and a number of other rolls.”
People who attend the class will make these rolls right along with the chef at their own workstations.
Reckard is passionate about sushi and says sushi is food as art. Ingredients are chosen for their visual appeal just as much as for their flavors, which can range from simple and subtle to complex and bold.
“You can use raw ingredients or not,” the chef said. “Ingredients are often raw, but they don’t have to be.”
For Reckard’s class at Uncork and Create, the ingredients — at least the fish, he said — would most definitely be cooked.
“There’s a lot of confusion about that,” he added. “Some people, when they think about sushi, what they’re really talking about is sashimi.”
Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy using thinly sliced raw meats, including fish, other seafood and even beef.
“Translated, sushi means vinegar rice,” Reckard said. “Sushi is all about the rice.”
Most people think sushi is Japanese, but the chef said it’s an import to the island country. Sushi began in Indonesia and worked its way through China before being introduced to Japan to take root, particularly in Tokyo.
“There are more sushi bars per square mile in Tokyo than anywhere else in the world,” he said.
Sushi aficionados can be just as particular about their favorite meal as coffee, beer and wine fans sometimes are. Impassioned debates sometimes rage about the merits of different ingredients, the strengths of different restaurants and the creativity of various sushi chefs.
“But for all practical purposes, sushi is kind of like a sandwich,” Reckard said.
Sure, it can be beautiful, but it’s also dinner.
Students should bring their appetites.
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.