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SCV gets a taste of Japan at sushi class

Posted: July 12, 2014 4:26 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2014 4:26 p.m.

Sushi-making instructor Nikki Gilbert thinly slices octopus for students to add to their nigiri-style sushi at Canyon Country Park on Saturday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.

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Twenty knives, cutting boards and towels sat neatly in front of 20 hopeful sushi chefs taking part in a sushi-making class on Saturday at Canyon Country Park.

“Sushi rice will stick to everything except plastic and water,” instructor Nikki Gilbert said as she warned the students to always keep their hands moist.

Offered through the City of Santa Clarita’s Seasons program, the class is taught quarterly by Gilbert, owner of Sushi Girl, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in teaching newcomers the art of making sushi.

After college, Gilbert spent three years living in Japan, where she learned the ins and outs of traditional sushi making.

As her students began to prepare their first sushi roll, Gilbert sounded a warning about the wasabi: making it fresh from its powdered form means it’s spicier than what most restaurants serve.

A quiet concentration fell over the students as they prepared their rolls.

“She was right about the wasabi!” someone said after taking their first bite. Another student fanned her face as her eyes watered from the wasabi’s effects.

Students learned how to make four styles of sushi — regular rolls, rolls with the rice on the outside, handrolls, and nigiri.

Gilbert said she teaches style, not ingredients.

“Like when you know how to make a sandwich or a burrito. If you know how to make a burrito you can put whatever you want in a burrito,” Gilbert said.

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