Another one of Maureen's wonderful gifts... a Sushi class by the chefs of Morimoto's Napa restaurant. The class was called "Sushi & Sashimi: Fundamentals and History" and was taught by his Executive Chef Kang Kuan and Sushi Chef Ingi Son. I was sad that the whole class revolved around a 60lb blue fin tuna, but we learned a lot about the different cuts of tuna, the art of sushi rice, and we practiced making sushi.
The idea of using vinegar on the rice started when they used vinegar to preserve the fish while on the ships from the USA to Japan. People got accustomed to the slightly acidic taste with sushi, and now they just flavor the rice instead. To make the rice, they polish their own rice (sourced from the Central valley) and then rinse it 7 times, cook it for 20 minutes, and let it soak in the steam for 20 minutes. Then they flavor it with vinegar dressing (6 parts vinegar, 4 parts sugar, 1 part salt) by cutting into the rice with paddles. They make 2 massive batches of rice every day at the restaurant and serve it slightly warmer than room temperature. The sushi rice is not sticky rice. It should be firm, not starchy and you should be able to crush it with your tongue against the top of your mount, and then feel each piece with your tongue as you eat your sushi.
We feasted on the blue fin tuna ($30 a pound) and learned about the different parts: maguro (lean, red), chutoro (side fatty piece), and otoro (basically tuna bacon!). The taste was amazing. Then we practiced making nigiri, Hoso Maki (roll with the seaweed outside) and Ura Maki (American style with the rice outside). Also learned how to make hand rolls.