The majority

holding guide to making sushi

There was a recurring question from Kelly Viall’s customers when she was a sushi chef in Birmingham.

“They were always asking me to come to their homes and teach them to make sushi,” Viall said.

Five years ago, Viall took the question to heart and started conducting classes sharing her sushi making tips. For the past 14 months, she has been a traveling chef teaching all over the country as part of Birmingham Sushi Classes.

“I’ve been doing sushi for almost eight years now,” Viall said. “I’ve taught over 5,500 students how to make sushi at home. It’s a lot of fun. When I first started teaching, I just taught at home. Over the past 14 months, I’ve taught in 15 states. I love it.”

This past week, Viall made her second stop in Florence and taught the ins and outs of making sushi at home to another sold out class at Singin’ River Brewing.

Viall conducts her beginner classes in all types of venues from libraries and elementary schools to breweries. She insists that anyone young or old can learn to make sushi. Classes usually have 25 spots with the average age being 25 to 40.

“I think the youngest person who ever came to my class was 7,” she said. “I have a lot of kids who come with a parent or grandparent. The kids love the hands on part. I also have a lot of people come for a girls’ night out and couples come on date night.”

Viall covers everything from making the popular Asian sauces and buying fish to the importance of properly cooking the rice and sushi rolling technique.

“Making sushi rice is really the most important thing I’ll teach the class,” she said. “It’s not difficult to do, but there are certain steps you have to follow. You have to follow those steps in cheap jerseys the right order. If the rice isn’t perfect, nothing else will be perfect.”

She begins each class by asking students if they’ve tried to make sushi rice at home. Of those who have, Viall said at least 90 percent of them had a bad experience because the rice wasn’t properly prepared.

“The majority of people who have tried to make sushi at home have had problems,” she said. “The problems always seem to stem from rice issues. I hand hold the class from the minute they walk in the door.”

With her simple instructions and corresponding cheat sheets, Viall said making sushi at home can be an easy, inexpensive, fun, family or group activity.

“Anybody can do basic sushi,” Viall said. “The more you do it, and the more you practice, the better you get. I can give you the basic skills. Then you can take that home and expand on that as far as you want to. It’s so cheap to make it at home. I can make about 15 California rolls for $20.”

Viall said her favorite part of teaching sushi classes is seeing it bring people together. What starts as a room full of strangers ends with them taking photos of each other and of their accomplishments.

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