Foodie Friday: Teach Me Sushi

I have always wanted to learn how to make sushi at home, but the sleek knife work and carful rolling associated with this Japanese art form is a bit intimidating. It’s great to get my sushi fix at a Japanese restaurant, but I moved out into the country and there is no sushi to be found. I’ve been looking for a sushi app for a while and finally came across Teach Me Sushi. This app isn’t new and the design looks fairly basic, but I was struck by its four star rating and all the rave reviews. The app boasts tutorial videos for making 15 different types of sushi, and detailed step-by-step photo guides for all but the simples sliced sashimi. Did I learn how to make sushi or was the hype a big fish tale? Keep reading to find out.

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Getting Started

Jake Davidkow, the app’s creator, has several years experience in Sushi catering and now runs sushi-making courses in New York City. He’s got street cred, which is a big plus. Downloading the app takes a good bit of time to download and hogs tons of space on my iPad mini (928 MB), which made me think that it better be worth it.

The initial impression of Teach Me Sushi is energetic and fun, a theme carried throughout the app.

The initial impression of Teach Me Sushi is energetic and fun, a theme carried throughout the app.

The home screen is a menu of videos, starting with an Introduction, equipment overview and tips on choosing fish, as well as cooking rice and preparing vegetables. These technique videos are followed by video and step-by-step instructions for 15 types of sushi, from the classic California Roll to elegant Nigiri to the flamboyant Inside Out Roll. The design is clean and simple, with attractive photos that made my mouth water in anticipation.

The app begins with an Introduction from the host and overviews of everything you need to get started, from equipment to choosing the right fish.

The app begins with an Introduction from the host and overviews of everything you need to get started, from equipment to choosing the right fish.

All the videos are downloaded with the app, which is a decision Jake thought long and hard about. It’s true, installing an app with a lot of video and then having to wait for video to download as you use the app is annoying. I do think streaming video from the internet is probably the best of both worlds: the app wouldn’t take up a ton of real estate on my iPad and these aren’t features I’ll be accessing on the go, so relying on my internet connection at home is fine. I do see that Jake was trying to provide the best user experience, but it’s just not practical.

Scroll down the home screen to browse the videos demonstrating 15 different types of sushi.

Scroll down the home screen to browse the videos demonstrating 15 different types of sushi.

In the introduction video Jake greeted me with an enthusiastic welcome, promising to teach me the basics and then more advanced rolls from restaurants. I’m not sure if he’s a Kiwi an Aussie or a Brit, but he’s got the energy and charisma of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. “Prepare to knock your guests right out,” he announces. I was fired up and ready to make some sushi.

Learn to Make Sushi

As I watched one video after another, I was impressed by Jake’s teaching style: he confidently demonstrates each technique at a pace that’s easy for a beginner to follow. Every step is shown in detail — no skimping! Each video contains valuable tips and Jake’s passionate, genuine personality kept me engaged with the app. After I watched the videos I checked out the step-by-step photo demos of each step, which are great for cooking along with the app, one screen at a time.

These aren’t the most gorgeous food photos, but they do get right up in the action so you can see exactly how it’s done.

These aren’t the most gorgeous food photos, but they do get right up in the action so you can see exactly how it’s done.

I could see by the photography that the app is low budget — it’s all done in a home kitchen, not a beautifully lit studio setting. If I looked closely I could see the avocado oxidizing to a mottled brown, which isn’t the most appetizing sight. What it lacks in sleek professionalism the app makes up for in raw personality and top-notch expert content.

Additional Features

The app offers two tools for sushi making: the Calculator and the Rice Timer. The Calculator is meant to help you know how much of each ingredient to purchase based on the number of people you’re cooking for. I’m not sure it fulfills this calling. After entering the number of people I’m cooking sushi for I then had to go through and select sushi for my menu.

The calculator is a fun, engaging app feature that helps you plan your shopping list.

The calculator is a fun, engaging app feature that helps you plan your shopping list.

The app doesn’t explain the calculator, but it expected me to understand that, even though I said, I would be making sushi for eight guests, I must make sure to enter the number 8 for single portion sushi. Rolls and the like usually serve 6-8 pieces, which the calculator picks up on. The app uses my number of people for dinner to calculate sushi pieces needed, which is helpful but falls short of my expectations.

Since you’re cooking along with the app, it’s nice to have the rice timer to help you make perfect sticky rice every time.

Since you’re cooking along with the app, it’s nice to have the rice timer to help you make perfect sticky rice every time.

I like how the app offers a Where to Buy feature to help me locate the nearest Japanese supermarket, and the rice timer is helpful for making perfect sticky rice every time. It will let you know when the rice is done whether you’re in the app or checking your email, or even if the screen is turned off.

Conclusion

Teach Me Sushi is a real labor of love and it’s obvious that the app creator, Jake Davidkow is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others. If you’re serious about learning to make sushi from an expert, the $6.99 is well worth it. Not only does Jake demo every detail, but he also shares a wealth of knowledge and useful tips. I only wish the app didn’t take up so much space on my iPad and that the calculator offered a bit more functionality. But there is no denying this huge app is chock-full of great content.


Summary

Learn how to make sushi from an expert with 15 videos and step-by-step instructions of everything you need to know.

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