Creating a meal from scratch is both challenging and delicious, much like playing "Stairway to Heaven" on a clarinet made out of a candy cane. Master meal-melding with today's Groupon: for $89, you get a three-hour The Art of Making Sushi class with Madame Saito (a $185 value). Classes take place at the HeadHouse Restaurant every other Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and every fourth Sunday of the month from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Check the class website for a full schedule.
The self-proclaimed Queen of Sushi, Madame Saito commands extensive culinary training from masters in Tokyo and Paris—ennobling apprentices studying the ins and outs of sushi-making. In one three-hour course, maki makers glean skills through hands-on instruction and bounteous, provided ingredients. Classes create nori-less nigiri and regular, reverse, and hand rolls alongside delectable specialties such as tempura-dusted shrimp and soft-shell crab. Courses culminate in a culinary competition, pitting classmates' creations against each other for a chance to win a $25 restaurant gift certificate, bragging rights, and inspiration for sushi-themed sonnet sequences. Students should bring a knife for cutting sushi rolls, and a sealable container to bring home surplus sushi treasure.
Philadelphia calls Madame Saito the Queen of Sushi, and it's easy to see why. Armed with formal culinary training from Le Cordon Bleu and the Ritz Escoffier in Paris and experience from apprenticeships under premier Tokyo sushi chefs, she has committed the last 26 years to spreading her love for Japanese culture and contemporary fusion cuisine. Although she leaves time in her schedule to manage Tokio Sushi Bar—her sushi restaurant with French culinary influences—, The HeadHouse Cafe, and to conduct an annual sushi-making competition, Madame Saito counts education as one of her highest priorities. She regularly commits her quadrilingual tongue to demystifying the art of sushi during classes for aspiring chefs and casual students alike, teaching them how to hand roll maki and slice fish into perfectly uniform dodecahedrons.
Center City East
122 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147Get Directions