Sustainable sushi school at Feng Sushi

Last week, I was invited to join restauranteur Silla Bjerrum at Feng Sushi for a taster of the Sushi School she runs at the Notting Hill branch of the restaurant.

As well as teaching the intricate art of rolling and slicing a variety of sushi, the class aims to build an awareness of how to create a sustainable version of the fish-heavy food-stuff.

It might seem like stating the obvious, but one of the best ways of making sushi sustainable is to simply cut down on the amount of fish you use by being more creative with vegetarian recipes. Silla’s avocado, pickled ginger and chive rolls might be a little unorthodox to Japanese purists, but they were delicious, easy to make, and go a long way to convincing me that ordering a couple less salmon nigiri in a sushi feast isn’t such a bad idea.

Similarly, demonstrating how a single scallop can be economically sliced, and combined with complementing flavours to make 4 generous pieces of sushi, was a simple, but effective way of showing that using loads of fish isn’t always essential to making sushi.

Of course, fish is still a massive part of sushi, and Silla’s biggest commitment to sustainable sourcing, both in the class and on the menu at Feng Sushi restaurants, is by choosing and working with trustworthy, ethical suppliers, and encouraging the use of fish that’s in plentiful supply such as mackerel.

The restaurant has sourced salmon from Loch Duart for over ten years, because thanks to their low-volume rearing, the fish is not only sustainable, but incredibly delicious, the sashimi tasting fresher, and tenderer than any I have ever had.

Feng Sushi also uses The Ethical Shellfish Company whose commitment to hand diving is both environmentally friendly, and yields delicious, fresh shellfish.

While I personally may not necessarily end up buying from those specific suppliers, Silla’s passion for the companies she buys from, and the way they work certainly encouraged me to think twice about buying anonymous supermarket seafood and be willing to make the extra effort to visit ethical fishmongers such as Fin and Flounder in Broadway Market.

I also went away feeling positive about eating at Feng Sushi. More info can be found about all of their fish sourcing on their website.

Sushi making itself is pretty tricky, but the small class-size and completely non-patronising teaching-method meant that I did produce some just about acceptable maki rolls, california rolls, hand rolls and nigiri that filled me to the brim on the night, and provided me with a veritable sushi feast the following day. Most of all, it was a lot of fun, which totally made up for some rather gnarled pieces of nori that I was responsible for.

The class costs £150 for a full day, and you’ll be left with enough sushi to feed four to take home, some handy rolling skills, and a whole lot of knowledge about what to look for when buying sustainable fish.

 

 

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