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A night of sushi making

Posted: August 1, 2008 9:25 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Andy Hetzel, left, and Jose Estrada, both from Valencia, make their first sushi rolls at Let's Make Sushi! at College of the Canyons on Thursday. Executive Chef Avery Roemer instructed nine people in the one-time night class on the basics of making a California Roll as well as several other popular rolls.

Standing in front of her nine students, Avery Roemer grabbed a handful of white rice and spread the sticky grains across the dried square of seaweed.

While frequently dipping her hands into a cup of water to prevent the ingredients from sticking, Roemer neatly laid atop the rice slices of perfectly ripe avocado.

Next came the imitation crab, a flavored white fish and common substitute for crab meat, to top off her creation that would soon turn into a California roll.

With the ingredients finally organized, the chef began to roll the mix of rice, avocado and imitation crab in the bamboo mat that had been covered by plastic wrap.

After giving the last tightening squeeze, Roemer held up the uncut California roll to the curious group who would soon undertake the challenge themselves.

"And ... ta-da!" she said, as the smell of the newly-made sushi speciality filled the air of the College of the Canyons classroom.

The only step left was to cut the roll with a damp knife and, of course, eat the half-a-dozen bite-sized pieces.

"Everyone can play now," she told her students, who promptly began gathering the materials to make their own edible works of art.

The hands-on sushi lesson was one of the recipes the students learned as part of College of the Canyons' "Let's Make Sushi!" class Thursday evening.

Roemer said the class is designed to give sushi-lovers a chance to make the cuisine at home.

With such a "huge buzz" about sushi, and sushi restaurants gaining popularity, Roemer said offering a sushi class gives restaurant-goers an opportunity to bring the recipes home and "individualize" them.

"Plus, it's cheaper," said Roemer, who has spent 11 years as a chef. A personal chief who specializes in catering services, Roemer also teaches a grilling class.

The three-hour class gave students an in-depth look at sushi, ranging from a brief history lesson to lists of popular recipes. Roemer even offered tips on how to make the perfect sushi roll and where to find the best fresh fish and supplies. She recommends the 99 Ranch Market in Los Angeles.

Students got to make a range of rolls with different styles, including the inside-out technique.

One of the sushi students was Chris Sumner of Saugus, who wanted to pick up the skill so he can make sushi at home. "I like to eat it too," Sumner said, adding that his favorite style is the spicy shrimp and crab roll.

Lisa Zindroski was also hoping to pick up the skill. "It looks so easy in restaurants, and when you try it at home, it's not so easy," she said.

The Valencia resident hopes to soon make sushi for her husband and five sons to enjoy. "My boys will be very happy," she said.

Want to take your own class?

n Missed Thursday's sushi class? Visit and click on the Community Education link to find out what courses will be offered in the fall.


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