The art of making sushi

By Maggie Crane, WINK News
Story Created: Feb 4, 2008 at 7:56 AM EST

Blu Sushi was born out of boredom. Hong Kong born sushi chef Kevin Mak used to own a chinese restaurant, but thanks to a buddy in the sushi business, Kevin switched careers. Thirteen years and three businesses later, he hasn't looked back.

Sit at the bar at Blu Sushi and watch the sushi chefs at work. They make it look so easy. But is it?

Sushi chef Kevin Mak makes food into edible art, and he's teaching me how to make a roll called "" It's named after a good customer."

In the beginning, you have to make sure your hand is a little wet, so the rice will not stick to your fingers," Mak says.

Well it stuck to mine anyway, and it's no wonder --"We use sushi sticky rice from Japan and mix it with a little sugar, a little salt and a little vinegar," Mak says.Next, we add on spicy tuna, cucumber, and tomago, which is egg mixed with a little sugar and vinegar, and then wrap it up in soy paper."

Make sure your fingers hold all of the ingredients in the middle," Mak instructs me.But that's harder than it looks! Mak is an old pro. He wraps nearly 300 rolls every night, and so do his six other chefs. That's a heck of a lot of raw fish! Mak wraps each roll in about a minute.

Mak says shashimi, which is only raw fish -- no rice -- only needs a little soy sauce and wasabi for flavoring.

Most people have heard of wasabi -- that little green glob on the side of your plate. It comes from the root of a plant and packs a serious punch."Some people say 'oh I love spicy,' but, wasabi is a different kind of spicy, they say 'wow! This goes all the way to the top of the head'" Mak says. What you won't see is what goes on behind the scenes. Blu Sushi gets fresh fish from all over the world."We get it from Canada, from Japan, from Brazil -- everywhere," Mak says. "It just depends where I can get the freshest fish.

"Tuna comes in different grades, and an A++ fish will reel in big bucks."Some, maybe a 500 pound fish or a 700 pound fish, can go for like $50,000 for one fish," Mak says.

But that fish often goes to the sushi capital of the world."Like 80% goes to Japan because they pay a really high price," Mak says. "We have a lot of great tuna too -- it just depends on how much you want to pay for it.

"The different knives sushi chefs use are almost as important as the quality of the fish itself.

"You can get a knife for $50 but they run up to $5,000 for one knife," Mak says.

Even the stones used to sharpen the knives can cost hundreds of dollars a piece.

From succulent sushi to sharp skills, Kevin Mak has one goal every day.

"All the time we try to create something for our customers that they cannot eat at another restaurant," Mak says. "Really, they're not my customers. They're my friends -- they're all my friends!"

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