I am Jana Beskydova
and I share my passion for sushi
If I was able to prepare sushi right the first time well and tasty ten years ago, I probably wouldn't have paid attention to it today. Stubbornness and the desire for perfection seemed to drive me forward.
Immediately afterwards I wanted to learn sushi to be able prepare it at home and I wanted to get more information. Believe it or not, a decade ago, you couldn't find a video tutorial on how to prepare sushi properly, nor was there too many recipes and procedures on the internet. Cooking classes also became popular much later, so I went to the library, borrowed one little book with more pictures than recipes, and my effort started. (After ten years I visited the library again and found the book, see the photo bellow)
The first to tenth attempt is more or less a dishonor of the whole sushi art. I thought it was not too dificult, and I didn't need to spend my student money on good ingredients. I didn't have sushi vinegar, I used the classic one. I didn't have a rice cooker, I cooked rice in a pot. Omg, poor my loved ones had to eat it ...
As I said, thanks to my stubbornness, I did not give up, I gave it time and space, and continued my training. Sushi is mainly about well-cooked and flavored rice, and that it is not really possible without the rice cooker. It took me a few years before I was so satisfied with rice.
After I was not afraid to share my sushi work, I was preparing sushi for myself, my family, my friends, on birthday parties, and gradually I realized that sushi became one of my great hobbies. I often held home-made sushi parties with my best friend which ended up with absolute sushi indulgence.
At that time, during my university studies, I worked as a hostess and shuttled at various events until I got a part time job at a European fish distribution company. At one of the training sessions, I learned about fish, preparation, and once a month we prepared fresh fish tasting promotions for one store chain. And because I really enjoyed the sushi and I was sorry that so few people had eaten it at that time, I came up with an idea for a "sushi for beginners project" with a tasting and a showcase preparation right in the shop. This project worked for about a year before I left with my boyfriend to travel the world.
A few summer seasons spent in Washington DC and traveling around the USA stopped me for a while in making sushi, but it gave me the opportunity to taste sushi at the best local restaurants and get the idea that sushi is not just tuna or cucumber. We got a visa in Canada in 2015 and I got my first "sushi job".
Yamagoya is a Japanese restaurant in the mountain town of Fernie in the Rocky Mountains of the Canadian province of British Columbia, owned by a Canadian-Japanese couple - Cameron and Michiyo, who have taught me a lot. Throughout the summer, with Canadian Larkin and New Zealander Katie, we toured music festivals (such as the biggest music festival of its kind in the world in Edmonton, or the folk festival in Calgary) and other small towns with foodtruck Yama2go and rolled the best sushi far away. We once had a sushi workshop for local schoolchildren.
I was able to roll sushi though, but in Yamagoya I had the opportunity to train everything - for example, the so-called uramaki, California roll - see weed inside, but mainly to learn how to work fast because orders never stopped. I learned from Michiyo unusual recipes, which are now part of my catering (eg Korean roasted beef, boiled shrimp with curry, or various combinations of fresh vegetable and salad rolls). I also got to know Japanese knives and fell in love for sushi even more.
In 2017 I got my second sushi job in New Zealand in a mountain lake town Wanaka. I got a job as a sushi chef for an Asian restaurant in a ski resort where I worked under the Japanese sushi master Takesan (who as a gastro guru was constantly watching us from the kitchen manual picture).
I was very lucky because professional sushi is mostly male thing and it is not so common to see a woman in sushi business. I also discovered other kinds of sushi thanks to Takesan, which I now include in the menu or I teach my students. Eg: temaki, temari, onigiri, oshi, etc.
Takesan told me at the outset he wanted to teach me and that he refused the old school of sushi masters, who only allow a few of their chosen ones to prepare this piece of art. So he taught me for five months and dedicated me to the secrets of sushi, especially nigiri - fluffy clouds of rice with raw fish. Did you know that a properly shaped nigiri has an air pocket in its center?
I like there is no limit to imagination and the variety of sushi. Throughout my learning process I had the opportunity to experiment and find new or traditional flavors, classic fish, vegetarian and vegan. My experience now goes so far that many people keep telling they have never tasted such a good sushi like mine. And because sushi is my big love, when I start talking about it, I cannot stop and I like to share this skill with others.
The year 2018 became a year of the 10-year anniversary of my sushi work and also the year when we finally reached the dream - Japan. In the Japanese Alps - specifically in the small mountain town of Hakuba - we take care of the alpine lodge and I have the opportunity to organize sushi workshops for our guests. Taking this wonderful gastronomic art into my own hands, constantly learning and transforming it into my own piece of art is what brings me happiness. Nowadays we are back in Czech republic - in Pardubice - and I can't wait to share my sushi art with you.
You can watch a video of the sushi workshop here:
I often get questions about where I get the fresh fish. I am very lucky to have a Fish Company. There is a small shop where they also prepare sushi Hradec Kralové, in the Stromovka market. As part of our collaboration, in March 2018 I taught Fish Company staff MAKI and FUTOMAKI sushi, which they will always prepare from available fresh fish.
Sushi gastronomy is dynamic area and I hope its development will never stop. I am now working on sweet sushi - FRUSHI. For the first time, I created it at the initiative of a competition organized by the chefs of all resort restaurants in Wanaka. I can not bake too much, I can maybe make a pie, maybe strudel, so I googled a bit and I found a few recipes for this light tasty goodness. And guess who won the competition?
Since I enjoy writing, I wrote a blog from our travels, which is here to read (when you speak Czech). There you will find not only information about my journey to sushi, but also stories from Japan and New Zealand (I will gradually return to the stories from Canada and the USA) that have happened over the past few years.
My name is Jana and I am a sushi addict. Can't wait to make sushi for you!