|Sushi Workshop at Adriance Public Library in Poughkeepsie
When the inquiry came about 4 month ago I wasn't sure what to do in order to make it a successful program. The idea, however, came from Atsuko-san, our head chef, bits by bits and eventually I knew we'd do three kinds of sushi; Maki-roll, Temaki (hand-roll) and Nigiri, naming the program "Make-your-own Sushi" workshop.
The room was rather too small to comfortably fit 20 guests and our 16 volunteers. I was, however, not worried that much about the space as I thought most of the guests may be small kids. However, it turned out to be there were 6 or 7 kids not small but big, like basketball player-size-big boys, who were the first ones showed up much earlier than anybody else, patiently waiting for the workshop to start. They physically dominated the room while our staff who were nearly half a size in height and could be their parents or grandparent's age squeezed in among them. But it was a wonderful scene that there was seriousness in their faces while watching our head chef's demonstration of how to prepare right sushi-rice as well as to make futo-maki and listening to our staff's instruction very carefully, not typically expected from teenage boys. There weren't many girls in spite of my initial expectation. Someone said many of the famous chefs are men, and I guess we might have witnessed the truth of it...
There was a boy attended with his dad, both tried Maki-roll. I thought a professional Sushi Chef would have loved to see the boy in his restaurant as a customer because he looked like as if there were nothing on the earth better than the sushi he was eating... There was this tall man with a little girl came in later. Her dad tried to put the plastic glove which looked like about 10 times bigger than her hand so there was a struggle between his huge hand, big plastic glove and her mini hand. It was such a beautiful and lovely moment in the way her daddy was very gentle but trying hard which was obviously unsuccessful attempt as the girl's entire hand seemed slipping into one of the glove fingers... Check, next time we'll bring plastic gloves for little kids, too.
After the workshop we all sat down and shared the sushi Junko-san made for sample and the ones made by instructors during the workshop. Many of our staff haven't made sushi for years and it was a welcome opportunity for them to refresh their memory. I found the last minute that two actually never made sushi before who had "pretended" so well that I guess no one had noticed it was their first time. I must admit they deserve a praise for their guts and skill.
It was an extremely successful event after all. We are very thankful to Nicole Guenkel, the Head of Youth Services, and Poughkeepsie Public Library to give us the opportunity to be a part of this great and special event providing to the kids and their families in the Poughkeepsie community. Since our staff had learned very much along with the guests, I am very confident that the next time we received another call for sushi, we are all ready to go!