I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi and now I dream of sushi. I don’t dream of making sushi – although I’d like to try – I dream of eating sushi. Ideally the best in the world.
Because of this, I found myself eating sushi at an event at Divertimenti last week, hosted by Japanese chef Mr Kazuomi Ota and KAI – a premium range of high-performance knives inspired by the art of Samurai sword forging (fancy eh?).
Sipping on Moet, I watched Mr Kazuomi expertly make us heavenly sushi. I didn’t want to disturb a master at work, but managed to sneak in a few questions between rice steaming and salmon cutting.
Mr Kazuomi is the Head Chef of the Hi Hotel in Nice. He’s been making sushi for 15 years, three of which were spent perfecting sushi rice – something every novice has to go through. He also had to earn the right to use a knife, knocking off yet another year. Becoming a sushi chef ain’t easy, as you can tell.
Mr Kazuomi’s sushi melted in the mouth. This wasn’t just down to his skills, but also the freshness of the fish, how the fish was cut and the quality of the knife used (KAI Shun knives are made with 32 layered stainless damask steel, giving them unrivaled sharpness).
To make the California Roll, you need to think in layers. Mr Kazuomi’s version started with a sheet of Nori (paper like, toasted seaweed) placed on a bamboo mat wrapped in cling film. He squished half a centimetre of sushi rice on top, before sprinkling toasted sesame seeds all over. You can also use risotto rice as the consistency is similar.
A thin sliver of salmon was placed down the middle of the rice, along with slices of avocado and cucumber. The bamboo mat then rolled everything together, before it was cut into mouth size portions and eaten by me.
My next treat will be Sushi Tetsu this summer (if I can reserve one of the seven seats). Until then, I’ll be practicing my California Roll with my new KAI knife, so watch this space…