Atsuko’s Kitchen Review – Japanese Cooking Demystified

So, this is the second post of me reviewing a cookery school – the first being Billingsgate’s Fish School, that was a compelling day out, no less absorbing was Atsuko’s sushi making class. Atsuko is Japanese chef, quite conspicuous that, but for those who don’t know, now you know. She also writes and is food photographer – all the things I’m trying to get better at. The class we attended is up in Shoreditch in the now defunct Ruby’s on Charlotte Road, right by Merchant’s Tavern which is also extinct. Ruby’s specialises in homespun Italian cookery, with a menu that carousels with the days, pasta is their trademark, I had many a lunch there. It’s teeny, like a domestic set-up where you eat where you cook, which is ideal to rent out for a sushi making class. There were eight of us in the class, a mixture of couples and those flying solo. Some had only experienced sushi from Boots – oh well, you have to start somewhere right. Personally, I would have kept my mouth shut. The workshop lasts for a few hours and you get to hone some skills in rice making; knife work; how to make maki; and hand rolls with a variety of high quality ingredients.

The tools – a tamago pan, bamboo roller and cooker.

Why wouldn’t you plug your own book?

Condiments and flavourings for the day, usual suspects like sake, mirin, soy and vinegar feature.

The rice to sushi is like how a chassis is to a car. It’s the core component, so if you have a dud chassis then your car won’t perform all that great, similarly if you have dud sushi rice then your sushi won’t be worth eating!

When I found out that making tamago was on the agenda, my heart fluttered as I love the stuff. It’s a slightly sweet and slightly savoury omelette cooked in a rectangular pan called makiyakinabe or tamagoyakiki.

Onto the knife skills.

To the maki making. Ingredients consisted of avocado and strips of salmon, peppers, dill and cucumber. And in my case, lashings of flying fish roe.

Reverse maki rolls rolled with sesame seeds were also a highlight. The same ingredients featured, this time with glorious spicy tuna. What I did with mine was hammer them with wasabi to get that nose singeing, eye watering, blood vessel dilatation glory that we all know and love when we do too much of the green stuff. This sensation therapy at it’s finest.

Did I overdo it on the flying fish roe?

Excuse the differing lengths of my salmon maki.

Everything was fresh

Last but not least the steak hand roles


When did I go? Aug 2018
The damage: Expect to pay £79 per person
The good: The whole workshop was done tastefully with really good quality ingredients and touched upon core areas of sushi making from the rice, knife skills, making a variety of rolls and of course eating the fruits of our labour! The format was particularly pleasing, a demonstration was followed by a tasting, then to cracking on yourself. Atsuko was always coherent, engaging and showed plenty of grace. It’s a fun day out and I’ll happily recommend it to you.
The bad: For a fist full of sterling, it would have been good to have some crustaceans in the mix, particularly soft-shell crab and prawns.
Rating: 4.5/5
Would I go again? Perhaps a different workshop
Address: 35-42, Charlotte Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3PG

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