Our first time…

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Hall of Fame Posts, The Sabi Story
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There we were, fall semester of our senior year, three handsome, young and cocky undergrads. The idea of Sabi was about 6 months old and we decided that it was time to stop talking about “bringing sushi to the masses” and actually see if we could roll some up for a group of friends. At this point our collective sushi making experience was absolutely zero. We had never made rice, never cut the veggies, never handled fish and sure as hell never tried to roll everything up into the perfect pieces you see on TV.

But hey…how hard could it be?  We turned to the place we go for whenever we don’t know what we’re doing…YouTube. After a couple of how-to videos we figured we had the gist of things. And set out to gather the supplies.

A few hours later the rice was on the stove, cucumbers and avocados were sliced and in the fridge, crab was ready and the salmon was finishing up in the pan. Our friends started to arrive, we had the music pumping, we had it all under control acting like we knew what we were doing.

Attempt #1, Trev:

“So at this point we had 5-6 people over all sitting around waiting so I decided it was time to go for this and make something that they could snack on. I wet my hands just as I saw on the Youtube video, then grabbed a big handful of the hottest rice in the history of the world. It was burning my hand so bad I had to throw it into the sink…Ends up you’re supposed to let it cool”

Trevor's first try.

Damn, we can’t just sit here and wait for this rice to cool while our friends are here waiting and expecting the sushi experience of a lifetime! So, we stuck the bowl of rice in freezer for a few minutes which in turned transformed our delicious fluffy rice into a hard and crusty substance that would stick to anything like super glue. Perfect…

Attempt #2, Shaan:

“The rice was now absolutely destroyed but we still had sushi to roll and mouths to feed. I decided that I was going to go for it anyways, I knew I couldn’t look worse than Trevor who ended up throwing his rice all over the kitchen. I placed my sheet of seaweed on the cutting board, had the ingredients laid out in front of me, wet my hands, scooped up some too cold to be edible rice and tried to spread it on the seaweed. It might as well have been peanut butter. It just stuck all over my hands. 8 grains at most made it on to the actual seaweed. I headed for the sink to rinse off failure #2…”

Shaan working his magic

Well… this wasn’t going to be as easy as we thought, but we’re not quitters. It was desperation time and like Kobe in crunch time Dan saved the day. It ends up that when he realized that the rice batch was most likely destroyed he called up a local sushi restaurant and ordered a couple of to-go boxes of rice. Legendary move.

Attempt #3, Dan:

“I could tell as soon as the rice went into the freezer that we were doomed so I had to take matters into my own hands and provide a little back up. Once the new rice arrived we were in business. And it was about time because at this point our friends Mike, Liz, Jen and Stacy had been waiting for the big moment far too long. With the new rice rolling was easy, we felt like professionals.”

The 1st Roll

Shocked that it worked.

The proud father.

In the end it was a success. We worked out the kinks and made it happen. Little did we know that this would become a common theme on our journey of opening Sabi. Many times we will jump into things not knowing what to do or what to expect, but every single time someone will find a way to make it work. Sometimes it’s Dan calling in for backup rice, sometimes its Shaan knowing exactly what to say during intense negotiations or sometimes its Trevor who will stay up all night to get any job done. But that’s all we want to say about us for now…

We want to dedicate this post to all of our friends back at Duke that helped us make it to where we are today. They were the ones that would put up with our “sushi nights.” They were the ones that would help us out when we couldn’t figure out how to print posters, do html, what to say in our elevator pitch or the thousand other things we had no idea about. We are so grateful for everything you did and for putting up with us for 4 years.

Michala, Minette, Tawfiq, Mike, Liz, Stacy and Jen, thanks for everything.

The Fam



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