One of the most popular elements of Japanese food is sushi, with sushi restaurants and conveyor belts on almost every high street in London. Though it may seem simple given its few ingredients, the process of making sushi is more complex than its small and bite-sized aesthetic lets on. Getting the seasoning of the notoriously sticky rice just right, selecting the best possible quality of fish and rolling it so that nothing drops out are just some of the tricks of the trade that you will learn about, transforming you into a food host in London.
1. School of Wok
School of Wok is the go-to for Asian cooking classes in London. It covers everything from Thai curries to Chinese wontons, from ramen to sushi. The sushi-making class on offer is three hours long, and will make you realise that you can never buy supermarket sushi again now that you know how easy it is to make it perfectly from your home!
The class, run by experts in the sushi-making field – and therefore a joy to watch in action – will focus on two major things: the sushi’s shape and its seasoning. The shape may not seem that critical, but it is the make-or-break of most pieces of sushi. You can’t have your maki unrolling in your soy sauce container, nor do you want the contents of your hand roll seeping from the bottom as soon as you take a bite. Rolling, using the sushi mat and all these elements are covered, and the hands-on approach of the teachers means that even if you are struggling, you will eventually come right. The seasoning is the next feature and this is very important. If your rice isn’t seasoned with the right balance of vinegar, you end up with a bland and boring filling to your sushi.
Contact: 020 7240 8818
Address: 61 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG
2. Atsuko’s Kitchen
Japanese cooking made simple is how Atsuko’s Kitchen describes itself, and it is exactly what you get. Though they flourish in all-things-Japanese-cooking, as it is their only focus, their sushi-making classes are world-class. They offer two major sushi classes and both are worth your consideration, as they will both transform you into the perfect food host in London.
The first is the regular sushi-making class. The second is their vegetarian class. While the latter is less traditional, it is a great way to learn how to adapt a well-loved technique into something you too can enjoy, if you are not a fish-eater. Both courses include the basics in rice seasoning and rolling, as well as delving into the slightly more complex elements such as knife skills and sourcing sustainable fish locally. This may be in Shoreditch, but you will feel transported to the streets of Tokyo.
Contact: 07921 397792
Address: 35 Charlotte Rd, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PB
3. Sozai Cooking School
Naturally, all Japanese cooking schools will offer a sushi-making course, or incorporate it in one of the courses. In fact, most non-Japanese cooking schools will offer courses too – the food is that popular and the mystery behind making it that shrouded. Sozai, however, take their sushi classes to the next level, cranking things up a notch in terms of the teaching of technique.
There general courses are all available and excellent. But they offer a special class called Fish to Sushi, which is entirely dedicated to knife skills and taking a freshly bought fish from a market and transforming it into filleted chunklets, ready to be rolled into a salmon california roll. For Sozai, the process in its entirety is as important as the end bits, or the seasoning. If you want to own the creation from start to finish, then this class is unmissable.
Contact: 020 7458 4567
Address: 5 Middlesex St, Spitalfields, London E1 7AA
4. Cookery School at Little Portland Street
Cookery School at Little Portland Street is a prime example of a Western, non-specific cookery school that offers a sushi course – because, well, why not? It is delicious. But it would be unfair to say that they are not masters of this class. The number of class variety in no way detracts from their specialist approach, and their sushi class is a high contender with any of the others with a heavier Japanese focus.
A great feature of this course is that the teachers will give you a bit of a briefing about what you need in your home kitchen to make sushi-making a possibility. Not many people have a cupboard stocked with sushi rice, rolling mats and seaweed. But the course will have more tools than you can imagine, all included in the price. So, they will show you which of the equipment is mandatory, and where you can go without. They will offer tips on how to recreate techniques as well as give you a list of all the stock ingredients you need to have in your cupboard. From start to finish, you are involved and active in this course and will hopefully take a mad sprint home in order to get cracking on the next batch.
Contact: 020 7631 4590
Address: 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW
5. London Cookery School
London Cookery School keep things simple – they do a couple of things, and they do them brilliantly. One of those things is a sushi-making class to blow your socks off. Even though the course is described as a beginners course, you leave having made as many as five different types of sushi in a mere three hours! Your beginner status doesn’t stick for long, in other words.
You leave not only with all the sushi you made over the three hours – and the platter is large and plentiful, be assured – but also with the skills to see you through a lifetime of sushi-making. Your homemade canapé selection will be transformed forever! The real focus for the chefs at London Cookery School is to say yes, it is true that the people you see making sushi in restaurants have decades of experience and mesmerizingly swift and speedy knife skills. However, that does not make it unachievable for your everyday home-chef – it just requires a clear mind and a different approach.
Contact: 07756 289779
Address: 296 Holloway Rd, London N7 6NJ
Food host in London with the most incoming on your part – your friends will have you rolling sushi for them every day once they hear how you have mastered it! Forget what you thought you knew about sushi-making’s difficulty – it can be really easy with the right guidance, and these courses have it sussed.