A Sushi Feast with The Chubby Cook and Sushi Rock's Chef Tran

A colorful handroll with salmon and pea shoots at Chubby Cook's Sushi 201

When Scott and I talk about starting a family, the conversation often goes to what foods I’d have to give up if I were pregnant (what can I say, we love food!). And while I’ll be able to forgo alcohol and caffeine pretty easily, I think the hugest challenge is going to be giving up sushi for 9 months.

I LOVE sushi and it’s one of those foods I’ve converted Scott to as well. So when we were at The Chubby Cook’s Cooking with Beer class last month and heard about their Sushi 201 course, we went home, jumped on the laptop and reserved our spots immediately.

One of the things that impressed me was how fresh-tasting this salmon was

In addition to being regaled with tales of the feast they had at Chubby Cook’s first sushi class, the other major draw was learning how to roll sushi from Sushi Rock‘s sushi master Chef Tran.

The only downside was that we knew we’d have to miss some of the class because we’d be heading over from work.  However, when we rushed into class forty minutes late, we lucked out as everyone was just about to start making the first roll.

I don't think I'm going to have a job as a hand model anytime soon

We grabbed a seat next to Sarah from The Cooker Girl and quickly caught up on what we had missed, including where to go to get ingredients, how to select the freshest fish, and how to prepare the rice. (I think a trip to the Asian Market and a rice cooker are in my near future!) Then we jumped into the action.

Over the course of the next few hours, we learned how to make 5 rolls, handrolling 4 of them ourselves.

Chef Tran shows The Cooker Girl and me how to deep-fry a roll to get a light tempura crust

Each roll provided a different challenge whether that was learning how to create an inside-out roll without breaking the rice exterior or deep-frying a roll to make a tempura crust.  I was a complete Sushi-making newbie so just learning what side of the Nori sheet to place the rice on was helpful (for most rolls, it’s the textured, not the smooth, side).

Despite a packed house, Chef Tran and Scott Groth – the Chubby Cook himself – did an excellent job managing the sold-out class. I found that they worked well together as Chef Tran demonstrated and Scott explained the techniques.

My two favorite rolls of the night: the Philadelphia (pre-tempura crust) and the Volcano Roll

The Chubby Cook staff were also very conscientious about going around to all of the tables and making sure we each understood what to do. Considering I am always nervous about messing something up when I cook, it was nice to have someone reassuring me when I did it right or helping me when I struggled.

As promised, we enjoyed a sushi feast at the end of class. My favorite rolls were the tempura Philadelphia roll and the volcano roll. The Philadelphia roll was rich and subtle, with a nice crunch thanks to the tempura. And, in contrast, the volcano roll topped with sriracha and Japanese mayonnaise had a very flavorful heat.

I also fell in love with green pea shoots, which we used in a few of our rolls.  Even Scott enjoyed snacking on them, so we’ll be heading to Trader Joe’s this weekend to pick some up.

So much sushi! (This was just a portion of what Scott and I made in class)

Although we had been given a heads up that there’d be a lot of sushi, I don’t think Scott’s and my stomachs were prepared for how much. Thankfully we came prepared with two large tupperware containers which we filled – making for a tasty lunch the next day.

If you missed Sushi 201, The Chubby Cook is hoping to schedule a third class with Chef Tran. Keep an eye on their Course List and get your tickets immediately because Sushi 201 sold out pretty quickly and was the most crowded I’ve seen The Chubby Cook’s space.

And when I couldn't eat anymore, there was even more sushi

If sushi’s not your thing, though, there are many other classes coming up, including Learn to Cook Chicken, French Bistro Cuisine, and a Parents and Kids Cooking Class.

For groups who are looking to book a private event, The Chubby Cook will help create a customized menu and work with the group to determine how much participation in the cooking process they want.  They also just unveiled brand new catering menus for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Graduations, Wedding-related Parties, an assortment of Themed Parties, and even Last Minute Catering.

Scott Groth, The Chubby Cook, will work with groups to create the perfect cooking class for them

Almost one year after opening, it’s great to see this Beachwood business continue to grow in both quantity and quality of offerings.  Follow The Chubby Cook on Facebook for more updates and promotions.

Don't be fooled by the smile, Scott wants me to stop taking photos so that he can enjoy his sushi

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