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FOOD&DRINKI Sushi:it's all in the rice,apparently

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aswell as smokedsalmon.Yum! Slicedup and laid out in the bento box they looked totally convincing,as did the upside dornrnuramaki Californian rolls that follow. By now it's clear we're all having fun and our bento boxes are filling up. We treat ourselves with temaki, little hand-held conesfilled with rice, vegetables and raw salmon that we gulp dovvnbefore moving on to nigiri, pellets of rice wrapped in thinly slicedsalmon,dipped in soy sauce and chompedin one.The freshly assembled ingredients (Emmanuel has been slicing off the salmon before our very eyes)have a deliciously zingytaste that's better than any restaurant sushi I've ever eaten.Novice Claire'seyessparklewith similar enthusiasm - we'll definitely give this a go at home, we agree,as we pack our bento boxesand leaveto face an unbelievingworld.

Tony Benjamin gets to grtps with some Japaneseroll play at a Your Sushfworkshop, t's really annoyingwhen you manageto pull offsome new cookerychallengebut everybodythinks you just bouglrt the stuff anyway.Like when I producedtr,vobento boxesfirll of varioussushifor a bunch of friends. "I madethis myself!"I claimed,and they all said"No, you didn't!", while tucking in approvingly.But I blooming well had! Five hours before my only experienceof sushi making had been peeking over the conveyorbelt in a restaurant as professionals knocked up delicaciesto trundle under our noses.I've eaten a fair bit, though, and really like it, so the prospectof being ableto do it myselfseemedtoo goodto be true. Didn't you have to learn for years?How could Your Sushi promise to get me started in a couple of hours? I signedup anyway,and made my way to a riverside hotel in central Bristol for an afternoonof surprises. The first surprise was our guide to sushi making - a young and energeticFrenchman calledEmmanuel.I'm not being racist,but... I had been expectingsomeonea bit more, well... Japanese?Turns out that Clifton-dwelling Emmanuel Letellier's parents had employed a Japanesechef in their restaurant in France and, over time, the young lad learned the sushi arts from him. The fascinationhad grippedhim and, ashe put it: "Onceyou train as a sushi chef it's a way of life - you can't do anything else." SurpriseNo 2 was to discoverfrom Emmanuel that it's not all about raw fish. "Sushi isn't about certain dishes,it's a way of cooking.It's all about the rice. What you put with it is your own choice."So we begin by watching rice preparation - that's the t I I I I I I I

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triclcybit, it seems,and we'll definitely need to practisethat at home. But, in the spirit of 'Blue Peter',Emmanuelhas somehe prepared earlier, nicely glazedwith vinegar, salt and sugar and stickily ready for the task. The third surprisewas discoveringthat one of my table-matesClaire has never even seensushi - she receivedthe workshop experienceas a present.An ex-midwife with a splendidlyopen mind, she'snonetheless totally unfazedand we buckle down to our first task - trimming cucumberand avocadoand spreadingrice on thin sheetsof nori seaweed before assemblingand rolling hosomaki.With Emmanuel'sguidanceit's surprisingly failsafe and, a few minutes later, we all have freshly rolled Churchillian cigarsbefore us. Striking while the iron is hot, we rush on to make futomaki - a bigger, more luxuriously stuffed roll into which I put pickled carrot, cucumber, shreddedcrabstick and pickled horseradish

BUT IF YOU

CAN]T WAIf,.. ...here'safew of our fauourite sushf uendors usho'Ilmake itfor Aou. Obento 67 BddwinSt, Bristol,BS1lQZ, web:www.obento-bristol.co.u k Yen Sushi 11-12 BartlettSt, Bath,BA1 zQZ, tel: 01225333313,web:www. yensushi.co.uk Dashi Sushi TempleMeadsStation, B r i s t o lB , S 16 Q G ;B a t hS p aS t a t i o nB , a th , B A 11 S U . Masa42'46 BaldwinSt, Bristol, BS11PN,tel: 0117930 0600, web: masajapaneserestaurant.com Y o ! S u s h i C a b o tC i r c u sB ; r i b bs , r i s t o lC C a u s e w a yB,r i s t o lM ; i l s o mP l ,B a t h ,w eb : www.yosushi.com

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