DID you know that maguro fish was actually first used in sushi contrary to salmon? Basically, in the 1980’s, Norway had too much salmon and they got an idea to sell it to Japan, a country famous for fish consumption. However, at first, the Japanese were hesitant about incorporating raw salmon into sushi. That quickly changed and salmon has now become a staple of sushi. With that, the Norwegian Seafood Council and All Japan Sushi Association recently organised a two-day advanced training headed by Chef Hirotoshi Ogawa, a prominent figure in the sushi business, at KDU University College, Glenmarie.
What made you pursue a career in sushi making?
As cliché as this sounds, watching manga actually inspired me to do so. However, the journey of becoming a sushi chef isn’t a walk in the park. It took me more than 10 years to get to where I am now. It requires a lot of hard work and if you last 10 years in the business, then only will you be a good chef in Japan.
What does sushi mean to you?
The word “sushi” to me, is a global word that signifies unity and peace. It represents peace and is incredibly well-known in every country.
What are some of your favourite ingredients to work with?
Definitely rice, wasabi, gari (pickled ginger) and ocha (green tea).
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
It allows me to meet all kinds of different people. Although it can be difficult to teach others oftentimes, it’s rewarding.
What is your advice for those who want to be a chef?
Hygiene must be a top priority of every chef.
How do you continue to learn and expand your horizons in culinary?
Due to my line of work, I travel a lot every year. This allows me to meet people around the world and be introduced to different kinds of food and cooking skills that I could maybe one day immerse into local Japanese cuisine.
What do you think about the Japanese cuisine in Malaysia?
I appreciate all the vastly different sushi creations in Malaysia because every country has their own style infused into the cuisine. Nevertheless, there will always be room for improvement. The one thing I would comment on is that all sushi chains should constantly monitor their hygiene levels and ensure the safe consumption of raw food to its’ consumers.