The California Sushi Academy was founded by a gourmet, entrepreneur and one of the Certified Sake Masters Emeritus in all of the USA, Toshi Sugiura. He is joined by James Lisanti an HACCP Instructor and honors graduate of both the Western Culinary Institute and California Sushi Academy, in his quest to teach the art of sushi making.
The academy opened in 1998 in California as a vocational training centre for sushi. The academy brings Japanese cultural value and significance in its food to students regardless of gender, background or race. In short they have written off the rule that a sushi chef must only be a male and Japanese of origin.
It has been training students and apprentices in the fine art of sushi and sake making with specific exposure to Japanese history and tradition. First students are taught to understand the value of food through the eyes of the Japanese, who believe that food, must not only taste good but feel and look pleasing to the human soul.
Students are literally taught to sharpen knives to prepare for the extensive fish filleting sessions they must undergo during the tenure of the course as all sushi lovers would agree the cut is what counts. They are also walked through basic fish identifying theories based on those handed down for centuries from Japan. Then they must also know exactly which utensils are used for what recipe and the how to respect each item used by them.
Realizing the high potential for fusion sushi within the country and predominantly the area, Toshi Sugiura has included modern lessons along with the traditional practices to ensure each student a place in the sushi world of fine dining and fast take aways. As master chef and CEO of the academy, Sugiura has drafted a curriculum that includes not only sushi and sashimi but all other Japanese forms of cooking and basic sauces and stocks and mandatory etiquette that is peculiar to each method.
The California Sushi Academy is the very first of its kind dedicated to certifying sushi chefs by providing in-depth vocational training on the subject. It has been recognized as the best internationally and is certified by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
Classes are for beginners as well as the intermediaries and Toshi Sugiura has done well to teach students not only how to make the best Japanese food but also how to serve it correctly by retaining its traditional values. Simply because eating and preparing food in Japan is more an art than a method.