© 2013 Diana

A Sushi Chef Must Master Rice and Knives

Author : Joe Liu


Lessons of the Knife

Cut yourself a hundred times, and then you might be a chef. That’s the only way for your fingers to learn how to escape the knife.


The Secrets of Sushi Rice

You have to use an excellent product. Ours is Tamaki Gold short-grain sushi rice. But then, you have to take the time to do it right. You’ve got to soak it in water for a minimum of five hours. If you don’t, the heart of the rice will never be tender. No matter how much you cook it.


Tough Tuna

If you fight the tuna with the knife, your slices will be too tough and chewy. But if you guide the knife — according to the contours of the muscles and the tendons — the tuna will be very tender. It wants to be cut in just the right way.


Salmon Slice

I have seven knives – Japanese and German. This one is the yanagi. It’s my largest knife. See, it glides through the salmon.


Kindest Cuts

Each species – tuna, mackerel, fluke, eel, crab – presents a different challenge for the knife. But beyond that, each fish is different. So you must size up every fish — before you can use the knife.


Remembering Rice

I was an apprentice at Kosho restaurant in Albany, which closed a few years ago, and the Japanese master, Oki-san, wouldn’t let me mix the sushi rice with vinegar until I was there for three months. I also worked for three months before I was taught how to sharpen a knife. Three years later, I was finally permitted to touch a fish. Salmon. I was so excited! But he reprimanded me, ‘You’re forgetting your rice.’ Then he reminded me to respect the fish.


About the Work

I came from Fujian, in southeastern China. Chef Oki-san didn’t care where I was from. All he cared about was the work. What he liked was that I worked hard.


Joe Liu serenely commands the nightly choreography of glittering knives, sizzling tempura and vinegared rice at the sushi station in the basement kitchen of Arlington Club on Lexington Avenue. Mr. Liu’s team of four chefs puts out more than 300 sushi orders on a busy night, razoring more than 100 slices from a 30-pound loin of bluefin tuna that costs $500.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>