Days 1-3: Sushi Bootcamp Part 1

Posted: July 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

After hearing so much about Sushi Central from Trevor, I finally set out for Los Angeles bright and early on Thursday morning. Phillip picked me up at the airport around 11am and I got to his restaurant, Sushi Central, a little before the lunch crowd arrived.

Since Trevor was thrown behind the sushi counter on day 1, I was expecting to be rolling in no time. However, soon after I got there Phil informed me that Trevor just got lucky since he was short staffed when he got to LA. Instead, I would have to work my way up to sushi rolling – learn the basics before I get behind the sushi bar.

“Welcome to Sushi Bootcamp” is what Phil said to me as he tossed me my Sushi Central uniform: an official sushi central shirt and hat along with a black apron. I laughed at this idea, but as it turns out, he wasn’t joking. I felt like the Karate Kid for the past few days – Phil has become Mr. Miyagi…

Phillip v. Mr. Miyagi

The first thing Phil had me do was to scrape some salmon and tuna. In order to make really good spicy tuna/salmon mixes, you have to scrape the fish in order to get rid of the fibers. This is a VERY time consuming process, but makes the spicy mixes taste amazing. Most sushi restaurants don’t bother to do this, but I guess that is why Phil’s sushi tastes so good – the more work you put into preparing the sushi the better it will ultimately taste.

After a few hours of that my hands were caked with tuna (and I’m pretty sure the smell is never going to go away) but I could now see some of the work that goes into making good sushi. I knew things weren’t going to be easy, but I think I am finally starting to see how this is all going to work out for Sabi.

For lunch I tasted some of Phil’s sushi, and he did not disappoint. I had his famous spicy tuna and crunchy rolls – the two rolls he sells the most of. I am pretty sure Trevor already said this, but if we can serve anything close to Phil’s sushi at Sabi we will be golden…the sushi here was without a doubt the best I have ever tasted.

The rest of the day Phil had me prepare some shrimp for tempura – this is another time consuming process that involves peeling and cutting endless amounts of shrimp. Phil is slowly showing me what goes into prepping all aspects of his restaurant, the things that go on behind the scenes – I am coming to learn things aren’t as glamorous as they seem.

So far I am surviving Sushi Bootcamp, but we’ll see what Phil has in store for me over the weekend. The experience has been amazing so far and I am still really excited to see what’s in store once things really get rolling…

  1. […] 2. Had life changing conversations with Chef Phillip Yi at our L.A. Bootcamp […]

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