Like hungry guests, a sitting audience looks, Plays are like suppers; poets are the cooks. The founder’s you; the table is this place, The carvers we; the prologue is the grace. Each act a course, each scene, a different dish.
~ George Farquhar ~
So we poets were the cooks for Teatro’s first ever sushi class. Maha slipped on her sushi rolling heels and off we went to join the rest of the girls for our sushi instruction compliments of Park Rotana and under the instruction of the very talented Chef Antonio. Having zero experience in sushi rolling and having recently spent the past week wrapping, packing, and then unpacking and unwrapping during my shift to a new villa, my expectations for my performance was low — very low. My first faux pas was to violently try to remove the clear wrap from the bamboo mat. Conditioned to unpack everything within my reach like a zombie in a trance, and frustrated that the clear wrap was getting the best of me, I clinched my teeth to apply the death grip and rip it off like my life depended on it until a quiet soft-spoken sous chef whispered Madam, it is supposed to be there. Lesson number one for all of you home rollers: wrap your bamboo mat in clear wrap so rice doesn’t stick to it.
Sushi is often confused with raw fish and rice. Originally, sushi was a term for fermented meat or fish for purpose of preservation. Fusion sushi, as it is known today, has been in existence for almost 20 years. Fusion, known as American style sushi, is the product of sushi evolution. Sushi chefs rely upon customer feedback to constantly create new and interesting combinations.
The second obstacle I was unfortunately unable to overcome was the requisite chef’s hat. The other girls looked adorable in theirs, I on the other hand, did not. My hat was like a marshmallow on a mountain of unruly curls with just enough spring to pop it like a champagne cork into my tray of ingredients in front of me. I finally gave up due to my inability to concentrate on Chef Antonio’s recital of ancient Japanese sushi making secrets. Unable to absorb any of this important information I quietly wished I had spent more time on the streets of Havana rolling fat Cuban cigars I then would have an advantage at this moment but sadly, I did not. Struggling to focus like a sane human being I turned to my friend Kerstin who talks to herself as she processes information and then regurgitated for all in close ear shot the instructions via Chef Antonio via Japanese sushi rolling tradition.
The most common question I received from followers about the sushi class was Did you try the volcano sushi? It must be some sort of double secret sushi that only foodies and Teatro regulars know about because it is not on the menu. I am told it is the best and since I was having difficulty mastering just the basic rolling of rice, I decided not to reach beyond my limitations and make a far-fetched request such as volcano sushi. Although as you can see from the pics the sushi students were a group of very eager gakusei (Japanese for student according to Google) absorbing all of the trade secrets Chef Antonio was willing to share. Such as: 1) Everything you need you can buy at Carrefour….and well, I forgot the rest but thankfully I have the list of essentials you need to make your own sushi at home (although it is much easier to just simply go to Teatro) but for you DIYers, here you go.
SUSHI RICE. Ingredients: Japanese rice (1kg, NISHIKI – medium grain) Sushi vinegar (400ml). Water (1000ml). EQUIPMENT. Rice cooker and a hangiri (Japanese for wooden pot)
METHOD: 1)Place rice in bowl 2)Add water and wash it 3)Drain water 4)Repeat the previous step until water appears translucent 5)Transfer rice to cooker bowl and add water 6)Turn cooker on and wait until rice is cooked 7)Transfer the cooked rice into hangiri 8)Add sushi vinegar and mix rice gently 9)Keep rice in hangiri until it is dry
SUSHI VINEGAR. Ingredients: Mizkan vinegar (5 liters). Sugar (4.5kg). Salt (1kg) Equipment: Two saucepans.
MEHTOD: 1)Pour the vinegar in a saucepan and place on the stove 2)Add the sugar and salt while the mixture comes to a boil 3)Stir the mixture until it comes to a boil 4)Once boiled, remove from pan and put in the second pan till it becomes room temperature.
Remember ratios: Sushi rice/Sushi vinegar 1kg=400ml. 2kg=800ml. 3kg=1200ml
Set-up at our individual mini-work stations my little group of Teatro gakusei made a valiant attempt at sushi rolling creating at least four different combinations with the opportunity to deviate to suit our individual tastes and dietary restrictions. Although rolling sushi isn’t the easiest thing to do, it is definitely not so extraordinarily difficult that you cannot do it yourself — especially when all you do is show up to Teatro with all of the ingredients in front of you and an assigned sous chef at your disposal. We lady sushi rollers (sounds like the name of a roller derby team) were on fire! We managed to create some extremely edible ocean treats that weren’t a complete eye sore or a massive fail.
In the end, did we learn to become master sushi makers? No, but we did learn a few tricks of the trade, we were also able to experiment with something new, and made a few new friends in the process. Also, I am now aware that Teatro has a loyal following of regular diners who rave about almost everything on the menu. Apparently, Teatro is also a family favorite because there is a full, diverse menu that will please almost everyone in the family. In order to give the restaurant a little cosmetic lift, Teatro is currently closed but will re-open for Eid El Fitr with a fresh new look and the same great food.
The Teatro sushi class was such a hit with the ladies that The Abu Dhabi PTA plans to offer another class as soon as we all return from summer holiday. Go ahead, put it in your calendar because we are definitely looking forward to another exciting experience with Teatro and the team at Park Rotana. Thank you to the management for the wonderful experience and a very big thank you to Chef Antonio for his excellent instruction.
*Note: Teatro will be closed for refurbishment during the holy month of Ramadan and will re-open for Eid El Fitr.
Teatro offers comprehensive a la carte menu creatively blending dishes from Thai, Chinese, Japanese Sushi, Indian and Italian cuisines. The interior filled with deep warm colours, hand blown glass, beaded crystal features and array of Venetian masks creates a relaxed ambiance in an atmosphere of casual elegance.
While indulging into a gastronomic Teatro play, guests can watch the live cooking of their food at the outlet’s show kitchen or Sushi Bar. The wine connoisseurs will be delighted to pick up the bottle of their favourite vintage from the extensive wine cellar.
The elegant décor, finest selection of dishes from various cuisines, wide variety of fine wines along with its personalized service, bring together an exquisite dining experience.
We ask guests to abide by our dress code which is no shorts, caps or slippers. Guests wearing National Dress are not permitted at the bar.
Opening Hours Closed during the holy month of Ramadan
Contact Details T: +(971) 2 657 3333, F: (+971) 2 657 3000, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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One thought on “The Sushi Class”
I doubt I could have managed the hat either. You lead such an interesting life!