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Thread: Sushi Chef Training

  1. #1
    Senior Member JanusInTheGarden's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Atlanta/New Orleans/Hyde Park

    Sushi Chef Training

    I have a question of a somewhat more delicate nature. Whenever someone goes into a sushi bar, I would imagine they would have certain expectations about the man preparing their food--namely that he is a Japanese expert in his craft. So my question is this: can someone of Caucasian descent find decent--albeit entry level--employment in sushi?

    The reason I ask is that I am looking to specialize in seafood over my apprenticing portion of my career. I would like to spend at least some time learning the art of sushi preparation. I've looked into a school that does an accelerated program in California but I wanted to make sure I could find some employment after graduating to acquire field experience before going back to the brigade system and hot kitchens. Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

    If this question appears rude/naive to anyone, I would like to note that it is not my intention to step on any toes.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DwarvenChef's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Central CA
    In today's schooling system I'd avoid anything "accelerated" just cause most chef's don't trust any school they have not been to themselves. CA has alot of big name schools that have gone down the crapper in the past 10 years. Do your research on post graduates from the schools and see if the grads got good hiring scores from their choice of schools. While I learned allot of good info from my school, not one chef gave a damn that I had a degree, I was treated as a walkin with "zero" experience even though I worked in the field for years.

  3. #3
    I'm white. I was a sushi chef for over a year.

    Go find a sushi bar with amazing food, and a complete ******* of a manager, and miserable employees. I had that job because I put up with things nobody else would.

    Most sushi chefs aren't going to care about your program certificate, and might even tell you everything you know is wrong anyways. French chefs are nothing compared to old Itamaes.

  4. #4
    Do you want to work straight away on the front?
    I think when you really want to make sushi start with washing rice for about 5 years.
    Then you move to preparaton of whole fish and maybe in next 5 years youll get the skill youre after.
    But then its your profession already and you forgot all other kitchen skills youve once possesed.
    If you just want to know how to make sushi, but not to work with it for living, get the school. I dont like schools in this industry but in this case you propably can get basics...

    Alternatively, find some renowned sushi chef, sharpen his knives and instead of pay get lessons.

  5. #5
    One of my sushi chefs went to CSA (California Sushi Academy) and I'm pretty sure he started without knowing anything. He has good knowledge of a lot of stuff but is still working on his skills. School is nice but I don't think many sushi chefs will care much about that. Having a school like that under your belt is at least some kind of ammo to try and get yourself a job. It is tough to just walk into a sushi bar and as to be trained to become a chef.

    And I don't know any sushi chefs that would let some random dude sharpen their knives. I know that there is no way in hell I would let anyone sharpen mine (short of some of the lunatics around these parts)

  6. #6
    Senior Member shankster's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Ya, you're probably gonna have to apprentice for a few years before any reputable sushi restaurant will let you work the front line,regardless of a culinary degree or your race.

  7. #7
    When I wanted to gain trust and respect at sharpening, I would go to sushi bar and just leave my yanagi with the chef for trial shift. And I would say that knife is to get used.
    [of course, every country have its specifics]
    After all cooking and sharpening involves lots of trust.
    Your customers trust you, that youre not going to food poison them or piss in the soup - even by not washing your hands often enough.
    Chef have to trust you that you will take care of his possesion well.
    Same same but different

  8. #8
    Yeah but what I'm saying is that I would never give my knife to a customer or whatever to sharpen even if he told me he could sharpen it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member goodchef1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I'm pretty sure that by the time your skills start to take off, there will be a lot of new trendy sushi spots opening up. We have a very popular "California Rock'n Sushi" spot here. For your culinary school, as an ex-graduate, many who come out of school will not see success, much less make a career out of it.

    I'm one who promotes schooling to those passionate about this field, but as one wise man once said "if you are not good enough without it, you will never be good enough with it"

  10. #10
    Senior Member JanusInTheGarden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Atlanta/New Orleans/Hyde Park
    Did you just quote Cool Runnings?

    I guess at this stage I'm really just beginning my career and I'm trying to decide how I should branch out. But the one thing that seems certain: I love cutlery, seafood, and meticulous technique. Therefore it sounds like a stint in sushi--which I freaking love--would be right up my alley. I would even consider making a career out of it, if I could be sure that a career in the field would be wise. This is also assuming that I possess the capacity to adapt to the skills. It just seems like I spend all my downtime researching sushi, raw fish preparations, and knife technique waaay more than I spend time researching anything else.

    In the meantime, I sincerely appreciate the advice y'all have provided. It means a lot to have access to individuals more experienced than myself who I can call upon for friendly advice.

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