Kaz Okochi Teaches Sushi Class at Maza 14
Learn the art of sushi making from restaurateur and sushi chef Kaz Okochi, owner of Kaz Sushi Bistro and partner with Richard Sandoval in Masa 14. Okochi is teaching a Sunday Sushi School, which focuses on tamaki hand rolls – a seaweed ice cream cone filled with your choice of fillings — and inside-out rolls, from 6-9 p.m. the first Sunday of each month through the end of the year at Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW. The next class is Oct. 5.
Masa 14 added sushi and Japanese inspired dishes to its Latin-Asian inspired menu in June under then-newly appointed chef de cuisine Felipe Milanes, who began in April. “Masa 14 is a fun, lively space and we wanted to incorporate that energy into the new sushi menu with this unique sushi school experience,” Okochi said at a media preview earlier this month.
Okochi was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. After studying at Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, one of Japan’s premier culinary schools, Okochi trained in sushi and fugu (blowfish) preparation.
In 1988, Okochi came to Washington, D.C. to work at Sushiko, Washington’s oldest sushi bar, and became one of the first Japanese chefs in America to develop modern menu items from old, time-honored Japanese recipes. He was also the first to introduce premium Japanese sakes to the District in 1992.
Each student will make a tamaki hand roll with crunchy shrimp or spicy tuna and an inside-out roll with salmon or spicy salmon. A vegetarian version is also available by request. A variety of sauces will be provided to incorporate into the rolls along with vegetables like avocados, cucumbers and scallions. Sake-lovers can pair their handmade sushi with a 6.8 ounce Nihonsakari Extra Day Cup Sake.
Earlier this month, I was invited to a private lesson. It was fun to play with my food while making my dinner. Okochi demonstrated the process first, then it was our turn. The class was casual and Okochi and Masa 14’s staff were always nearby to guide us through the process, showing us how to fix any mistakes. My rolls came out a little misshapen, but they still tasted as good as the pros make.
Once the sushi lesson is completed, guests will return to their table to enjoy the fruits of their labor in Masa 14’s dining room and can order a la carte from the restaurant’s full menu as well. The sushi class costs $15 per person or $21 per person with the sake pairing. To sign up for the class, call 202-328-1414.