Popularity of sushi goes around the world

Cultural News, 2010 July Issue

Andy Matsuda’s Sushi School / Cutting board talk

By Chef Andy Matsuda

Chef Andy Matsuda Sushi Chef Institute

Chef Andy Matsuda (Couetesy of Sushi Chef Institute)

A shortage of skilled sushi chefs is observed not only in the U.S. but throughout the world.  For the past few years, we have had a constant flow of students from other countries enrolling in our program, with a particular increase of students from Europe since last year.

Most of the international students find our school through the Internet.  Belgium, Netherlands, and France are countries in Europe where many of our students come from. One of our graduates from Denmark sent several interested Danish students to us through word-of-mouth referral.

From the Asian continent, we now have a number of students from Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. And sushi’s popularity has reached South American countries as well.  We’re beginning to enroll many students from these countries.

In the current Professional Class for July and August, all 10 students except one come from overseas and outside of California.  The nationalities of these students include Malaysian, Indonesian, Argentinian, Peruvian, and Colombian.  The American students come from Louisiana, Delaware, and New York.  So, the popularity of sushi goes around the world.

Our sushi chef training program requires two months’ stay in Los Angeles. Most of the international students need passport visas to stay in the U.S. for that length of time.  It usually takes four to five months to process the paperwork of visa students.  Our school is the only sushi chef school approved by the U.S. government as an M-visa school for international students.

Here is my schedule of outside of the school for July and August.

July 17 (Saturday) 2:00 – 3:00 PM: Sushi Demonstration at La Verne Library, 3640 D Street, La Verne, CA 91750, (909) 596-1934. Free and open to public.

July 30 (Friday) The 30th Anniversary Gala for Little Tokyo Service Center at California Science Center, Downtown Los Angeles. Along with major restaurants such as LA Prime, Roy’s, Masion Akira, Watergrill and American Seafood, we will serve sushi and appetizer for over 500 guests. Opening stage will be performed by June Kuramoto of “Hiroshima.”

July 31 (Saturday) 11:00 AM:  A one-day sushi workshop at the Japanese American National Museum as part of the museum’s Lifelong Learning series. $40 for museum members, $50 for non-members, includes admission and supplies. The museum is located at 100 North Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012. For reservations, call (213) 625-0414.

August 7 (Saturday) 7:00 – 10:00 PM: Evening Under the Star – 24th Annual Gourmet Food and Wine Festival at the ground of American Honda Motor in Torrance. This is a benefit event for Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Along with Southern California’s major restaurants, we will serve sushi and fusion appetizer for over 1,000 guests. Tickets can be purchased at www.torrancememorial.org

August 12 (Thursday) 6:30PM: Sushi with the Master class at Sur La Table at the Original Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Hands-on. $89. For registration, call (323) 954-0121 or email Cooking027@surlatable.com

Andy Matsuda is the founder and the chief instructor of Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.sushischool.net or Facebook/sushichefinstitute.