It’s not very often one has to learn how to cook a meal that is served raw. But the Japanese have made an absolute art form of serving sushi and its demand is surprising considering that, fifteen years ago, had you put: “raw fish” on your pub grub menu, your punters may have thought you slightly bonkers.
Such has demand changed in recent times that one of the top London cooking schools, Leiths, have incorporated a one-off sushi cookery class into their cookery course curriculum (try saying that with a gobstopper in your mouth). To be ran on Friday May 24th, May, this one-day workshop is hosted by star of kitchen and television (it’s a wonder there are any restaurants left, these days, with the amount of time celebrity chefs spend in front of the camera, rather than the stove, hey-ho) Sachiko Saeki.
Native of Japan, where she grew up learning the art of sushi cooking in at the deep end in her parents’ restaurant, Sachiko soon familiarised herself with the world’s growing loving affair with the fascinating menu and set out to be a professional chef in the discipline in her own rite. From those early days touting her trade as a budding starlet behind a wok, she has risen to one of the most renowned chefs of the dish, even tutoring Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on River Cottage Veg the subtleties of serving sushi.
For the cookery course at Leiths, there is combination of demo as your instruction with plenty to get your hands stuck into when you have a grasp of the basics to prepare your own sushi dishes. The dishes themselves will include learning how to produce the rolled effect common to many servings (maki), Nigiri sushi and traditional Japanese salads and sauces using authentic ingredients, which will all be weighed out in advance and then presented to you once you’ve had your meet and greet over pastries and coffee.
Whatever you have made during the morning can obviously been eaten at lunchtime, which is served with either Japanese beer or wine. If you’re only there for the practical aspect an alternative light lunch is provided where no cooking has been partaken in. Any food that you prepare after your midday break can of course be taken home afterwards.
There will be other Leiths chefs on hand, as always, and all of the ingredients, lunch and drinks are included in the price of £150 for the one-day cookery course. The only thing you need to bring is an apron, notebook and an open mind. Kick-off is at 10.15, to conclude at 14.30. The course requirements are downloadable from the Leiths’ site if you want more info; you can either book online or buy a voucher as a Valentine’s Day or Easter present for that special someone who you think may fancy a present with a difference.