Make Sushi For a Living
Do you know what agemono, donburi, fuki, gohan, shirako, shoga, tori, udon, wasabi, mirin, ocha, magura, kani, hijiki, agari, or sake are? You would if you were a sushi chef.
Sushi chefs use the finest and freshest ingredients to create sushi – a food consisting of rice rolled around raw fish and seafood and topped with tasty ingredients. Sushi originated in Japan 1000s of years ago, but has evolved to suit the palates of North America and Europe.
Sushi is normally prepared in front of clients at their table, which makes sushi a visual and conversational event.
Creativity and originality are necessary to make this edible art. Some people think of sushi chefs as raw fish bartenders who prepare and play with food.
Sushi chefs create their masterpieces with a wide variety of seafood. Tuna, amberjack, yellowtail, snapper, mackerel, salmon, squid, eel, pike, prawn, octopus, shrimp, clam, roe, sea urchin, and crab are all common ingredients. These ingredients are then combined with rice, cucumber, avocado, bean sprouts, carrots, chili, spicy mayo, and onion to create sushi. Next they add condiments like soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. The final result is bite-sized tasty bits of sushi.
Sushi is a healthy food. It is low in fat, high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Western style sushi is less healthy though because of ingredients like mayo, avocado, and cream cheese. All ingredients that sushi chefs use must be sushi grade. This means that the raw ingredients are fresher and of higher quality. In fact it is big business transporting sushi ingredients to landlocked hotbeds like Aspen or Chicago.
A typical workday for a sushi chef starts with food preparation. Seafood must be prepared and guaranteed fresh. Sushi chefs train to recognize smells, colors, firmness, and lack of parasites on all ingredients – a skill that keeps health issues to a minimum and sushi prices up. Rice must be cooked so that it is the perfect stickiness, sashimi must be sliced, seaweed must be dried and pressed, seafood must be cut. Preparation takes time, but it is an essential part of the sushi process.
Sushi chefs take orders from customers for different types of sushi. They may also prepare noodle, rice, or soba dishes. Typically they chop, fry, roll, and design different types of sushi rolls. Sushi rolls are logs of rice wrapped around sushi ingredients and cut into bite-sized pieces. Some common sushi rolls include California rolls, dynamite rolls, spider rolls, Philadelphia rolls, Seattle Roll, Alaska Roll, Rainbow Roll, Caterpillar Roll, or Inside out rolls. Talented sushi chefs take their job to the next step and create their own special rolls.
Don’t plan on rolling out of bed tomorrow and becoming a chef. Most sushi chefs attend culinary school or sushi academies to learn this edible art form. Training courses take 3 to 6 months. They teach the culture and history of sushi along with the techniques and styles of creating sushi.
Anyone who wants to become a sushi chef can become a sushi chef, but it’s not recommended for people with seafood allergies. Most sushi chefs make $9 to $13 per hour or $29,000 to $43,000 per year. Tips can also add to your income. Pay all depends on the clientele and location of the restaurant. Wherever you work, being a sushi chef is an honorable career.
If you’ve always been a fan of dining on sushi and want to make a living playing with your food, then consider a career as a sushi chef. There are sushi job opportunities all over the world.
Quick Facts About Careers in Sushi
Job Title: Sushi Chef
Office: Sushi Restaurants
Description: Prepare and create sushi
Certifications/Education: No formal education required, Culinary school recommended
Necessary Skills: Knowledge of sushi, ingredients, and recipes
Potential Employers: Sushi restaurants
Pay: $9 to $13 per hour or $29,000 to $43,000 per year