Davenport hosts sushi workshop

Posted March 30, 2007
Rhiannon Mim
A sushi workshop hosted by Davenport’s head chef Justin McGruder gave students the opportunity to learn about sushi as well as make their own. McGruder demonstrated the three types of sushi: hand rolls, cut rolls and nigiri style. Sushi started long ago in Japan when cooks used rice to preserve fish. McGruder plans to hold more workshops like this in the upcoming semesters.

Executive Chef Justin McGruder held a tasty, hands-on sushi workshop for students in the President’s Dining Room on March 21.

McGruder, who is the newest addition to Davenport’s kitchen, explained the fundamentals of well-prepared sushi as well as showing the techniques used in rolling sushi.

“I’ve made sushi for quite a number of years in Hawaii but we do it a little bit different and I learned a little bit about folding today,” International Center Adviser Debbie Yang said.

McGruder went through the step-by-step process for making sushi, including the importance of the rice.

“Some chefs are not even allowed to touch any sushi until they get the rice down,” McGruder said.

That wasn’t the case with McGruder, though.

He took a six-month sushi class where he mastered the technique of the preparing the popular food.

McGruder’s creativity was illustrated through the beautifully adorned tables filled with plates of black pepper crusted ahi tuna and sashimi.

McGruder spoke about the background of Japanese culture and then dove into the different types of sushi and how to get the freshest fish possible.

The audience only included three interested students and one faculty adviser.

The smaller group allowed for a more intimate atmosphere and a closer collaboration between the students and McGruder.

As soon as McGruder finished his spoken instruction he called on the audience to make their own sushi.

Junior theater arts major Ashley Miguel was the first one to step up to the plate.

“I think it’s important for students who are concerned about the food that is being served at Davenport should try to actually get involved even for students who don’t like sushi,” Miguel said.

Miguel said that she has been a long time lover of sushi and wanted to know how to make it so she could try it on her own.

“I think it’s wonderful and a great opportunity to learn how less common foods are made and to pick up some things on your own and enjoy some things that Davenport has to offer,” Yang said.

McGruder is planning to have more workshops for the students at least twice a semester.

“I would love more workshops,” undeclared sophomore Ashley Gindlesberger said.

McGruder also contemplated the thought of entering the popular contest show “Top Chef” on Bravo.

“My sister wanted me to try out for the show but I haven't really thought about it,” McGruder said. “I like cooking for students. They’re more fun.”

For now you can be a judge, putting McGruder’s culinary skills to the test in Davenport.

Be sure to look out for information in Davenport on the upcoming food workshops.

Katarina Woloschuk can be reached at kwoloschuk@ulv.edu.

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