- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2017


Who couldn’t use a little help in the kitchen? Especially when you can get a professional chef to come to your home and help you cook a meal from scratch?

Cozymeal does just that, sending professional-grade cooks to the homes of District-area residents as well as catering events. Even those home chefs who consider themselves to be rather skillful can learn how to make grand meals with freshly sourced local ingredients.

Last weekend, my girlfriend and I enjoyed the Cozymeal Sushi Class with Chef Chericia, who came to Victoria’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, armed with fresh fish, ginger, the ingredients to make wasabi and enough sauces and spices to make a restaurant-grade sushi meal right at home.

The key to sushi cuisine, the chef said, is the rice, and the choice rice she picked up at a District Japanese market was perfect for our needs. CC, as she insisted we call her, started us off by having us first rinse the rice three times in a bowl of cold water to get the starches out of the grains. With each progressive rinsing, the waters got less and less cloudy, indicating that we were doing a good job with the task at hand. (Clearly I don’t cook much as my hands went numb from the chilly water.) From there, CC had us put the rice in a cooker, allowing it to heat up and get suitable for rolls.

We then took the rice out of the cooker. CC had us remove some of the “crunchy” bits before transferring it to a rice bowl. In the rice bowl, she had us use a plastic tool to “fan” the rice, moving it around the bowl in order to cool down. The rice she seasoned with rice vinegar.

CC instructed us then on the optimal way to slice the fish, getting it down to the precise pieces to use in both the rolls and the more minced tuna for the spicy tuna rolls. CC duly supervised as Victoria and I used the knives at hand — being an amazing cook herself, Victoria has plenty of knives, and other culinary implements, on hand — we sliced up the cucumbers, mangos, avocados, scallions and serrano green peppers that would all go into the final product.

CC was incredibly patient with me, helping me not only with my slicing technique but also on separating the parts of the cucumbers that you don’t want in your rolls.

For the spicy tuna, CC showed us how to chop up the tuna into a fine tartare so that it had the most optimal texture. To the tuna itself we added in spices, serrano, scallions, Sriracha and other hot sauces for flavor.

We then encased up the wooden sushi roller in plastic wrap for the crucial final stages; CC instructed us on the best method to prepare the seaweed wraps to encase the rolls themselves. It’s crucial at this stage to have damp hands lest the rice stick to your hands in the folding process.

We then placed the seaweed on the wooden rollers, at which point she had us lay on the rice, dole out the fish and vegetables, and then fold over the rollers to shape the rolls themselves.

If we do it correctly, the rice and the fish and the veggies would form perfect roll shapes, which are then easily sliceable.

Et voila! Sushi rolls!

This had taken a few hours (CC said, in a professional kitchen, this happens much faster). We then sat down to dine, pairing the sushi with a crisp chardonnay from Victoria’s fridge.

CC insisted we start chowing down as she cleaned up the kitchen. Victoria and I exchanged a glance, then entreated our stellar chef to stop working and join us. The three of us them toasted to a fine meal, proving once again that the best dinner is the one you make yourself.

To book your own cooking class, visit Cozymeal.com.

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