Rhapsody’s Sushi Workshop – Sushi 101

Every now and again someone comes up with an idea that smells a bit fishy. But when Rhapsody’s Brooklyn came up with this idea a little while ago, the fishy idea led to something genius and resulted in a Rhapsody’s Sushi Workshop at Rhapsody’s Brooklyn.

Last night I had the opportunity to attend Rhapsody’s Brooklyn’s 4th sushi workshop and I decided more people need to know about the awesomeness that happens at these workshops and hopefully ignite the inner sushi chef inside someone.

Rhapsody’s Sushi Workshop, how it works…

I was told to never play with my food, so I went Asian.



JC Duarte


Sushi should be something fun, exciting and creative and that is exactly what master sushi chef JC Duarte accomplishes with his sushi workshops. The workshops cost R150 per person, which includes a glass of JC Le Roux when you arrive, all the rice you will need to make your sushi (and trust me… There’s a lot of rice involved!) and the rest of the ingredients you will need to make the sushi you will be eating during the workshop. The workshop in itself is about 2 hours long, during which JC and his team of sushi chefs from the Rhapsody’s branch teach you the steps and techniques of making your own sushi… From the “piano fingers” method of spreading and compacting the rice to the trick of rolling the sushi to give it that shape of whatever dish it is you’re making.

Fortunately border control in Boksburg stamped JC Duarte’s passport and let him come through to Rhapsody’s Brooklyn last night, where I got the chance to speak to this Portuguese dude, confused with French name (Jean-Claude) who makes Asian food. Here’s what happened:

Tell me a bit more about yourself?

JC: I’m a Portuguese guy who lives in Boksburg.When I was young, I was told never to play with my food, so I went Asian. So about 8 years ago I started making sushi at an Ocean Basket. I had the benefit of a European passport and decided to move over to London for a while, where I carried on making sushi. When I moved back to South Africa, Rhapsody’s was interested in adding sushi to their menus and that’s where I came into the picture. I’m Rhapsody’s Kitchen Operations and Sushi manager for the Rhapsody’s group. I also do the food and wine pairing for the group.

How did the sushi workshops come to happen?

JC: The nicest thing about sushi is that everyone has their own taste and preferences, sushi should also be fun, exciting and creative. I came up with the idea one day while here at Rhapsody’s Brooklyn and we decided to give it a try.

The sushi workshop, how long has it been going and where all is it done?

JC: The sushi workshops have been going for just over a year. Tonight’s was the 4th one here at Rhapsody’s Brooklyn, but I’ve done other workshops like this is Zambia and Witbank.

Are there plans to do these workshops at other branches too?

JC: There are plans to expand the workshops in the pipeline. The next one will be at Rhapsody’s Bryanston soon. When exactly hasn’t been planned yet, but soon.

How often are the sushi workshops done?

JC: The workshops are done about every 3 months here at Rhapsody’s Brooklyn, but there are plans to do them at some of the other branches too.

What is your vision and plan behind the sushi workshops?

JC: My goal is not only to provide quality to customers, but also to open the mind of consumers to the idea of sushi. Take the concept of pizza for example. You start with your standard pizza base and build on top of that to form something delicious. the same goes for sushi… The general feeling in the sushi market sat the moment is that you need to go to a specialised sushi restaurant to have proper sushi, but that isn’t necessarily true. I want to inspire the creative side of sushi with our workshops and our sushi menus available at Rhapsody’s restaurants, so that you know whichever Rhapsody’s you go to, you can expect the same quality and standard of sushi everywhere, without having to find those specialised sushi restaurants.

Have you had any interesting experiences at the sushi workshops?

JC: I find that the demographic of the people who come to the sushi workshops interesting. Once I had a girl of 6 years old who came to the workshop with her parents and followed the workshop step-by-step. I even had her sitting at the table I work on so that she could see exactly what I was doing. Another time I had a lady in her 80’s who came to the workshop and all she wanted was to learn how to make sushi. That’s the thing about sushi, anyone can attend and it’s fun, creative and exciting.


And that was that. JC also told me about some of the sushi masterpieces he has made in the past and it’s obvious that he comes up with ideas constantly with all the notepads he says he has in his car, home and wherever he goes. These ideas are clearly awesome creations with the selection of sushi you can find on the Rhapsody’s menu, which as JC mentioned, he likes to garnish and make so presentable that you should almost not want to eat it. But, with sushi this good, not eating it is highly unlikely.

Check out some photos I took from the last night’s sushi workshop here:

So instead of me telling you about this, why not try it out for yourself? For those in the Gauteng area, the next sushi workshop will be at Rhapsody’s Bryanston and the next sushi workshop at Rhapsody’s Brooklyn will be around July. It’s genuinely an awesome evening out and worth the R150. Make a group and go, you won’t regret it.

Follow and like the Rhapsody’s accounts on Facebook and Twitter to see when the next workshops will be. Like and Rhapsody’s Brooklyn on Facebook and on Twitter. Also like the Rhapsody’s Bryanston Facebook page to see when their workshop will be, considering that will be the next one.

For any other info, give Rhapsody’s Brooklyn a call on 012 346 7379, or email kathy@rhapsodys.co.za, otherwise tweet the Rhapsody’s official Twitter account.

Go make a booking for the next one, it’s totally worth it!

Sushi Facts

1. Sushi literally means the marriage of vinegared rice with other foods.
2. A true sushi chef trains for about 4 years just cleaning dishes and learning to prepare the rice properly.
3. “California Rolls”, also known as the “inside-out roll” didn’t exist in Japan until recently, when the idea came from Western civilisation.
4. The ginger served with the sushi is not supposed to be eaten with sushi pieces, but rather used as a palette cleanser when moving from one sushi type to another. i.e. Crab California to Salmon Roses

‘Till then…

Always remember, give a jackass an education and you’ll have a smartass!

Signing out.


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