Tojo – Itamae – master sushi chef
Tomorrow night I’m going to Calgary’s River Cafe to have a seven course beautifully sequenced Kaiseki sushi meal prepared by Canada’s (possibly North America’s) most accomplished Sushi master chef. His name is Hidekazu Tojo and he is owner of Tojo’s Restaurant in Vancouver. Here’s my colleague John Gilchrist’s description of the only other time Tojo came to Calgary. I was out of town on that visit and so when I heard Tojo was returning I immediately bought tickets.
Tojo’s flying in with his team but more importantly to me, he’s flying his fish in with him and its 100% Ocean-wise. I am thrilled to be going. It may indeed be my once in a lifetime chance to eat Tojo’s food. I had a chance to meet and eat the food of Seattle’s Shiro Kashiba at his eponymous restaurant Shiro’s a few years ago and each and every bite tasted like I was being kissed by the salty mist of an ocean breeze. I’m hoping to experience that kind of freshness again tomorrow and it’ll be inspiring and engaging to see the artistry involved in the dishes.
Is this my everyday life? No. But, that doesn’t mean my everyday life doesn’t include some fun with sushi. Tonight when we got back from skiing I hit the speed dial button to my favourite sushi restaurant and we enjoyed being able to pop by and pick up the world’s original “fast food” on our way home. Sushi is my favourite take out food. I like to pair it with my own wine and eat it in my PJ’s after a hot bath on ski days. That’s a little slice of sushi heaven for me.
The other way sushi is loads of fun is to invite friends over to make it together. You’ll need to do the prep work of doing all the shopping, and likely making the sushi rice ahead but its fun to chop the other ingredients together, assemble your maki (rolls) and then whip up a little miso soup to end or start your meal with. My friend Chigusa Gair was born and raised in Japan and is a warm and generous person. She offered to help me and a few friends with our sushi making as I had bemoaned that mine always look like a toothpaste tube that’s been squeezed in all the wrong places. We met at my place and what follows are Chigusa’s hints, tips and instructions based on our fun afternoon together. I made a few videos too. They will follow in a Sushi Making 201 post later.