When California Grill closes in late January for renovations, Yoshie has decided it’s time to take a break – the job of sushi chef involves many long hours of standing, and Yoshie says she’s ready to sit for a while.
She started at the California Grill back in 1995 when she convinced the chef to add sushi to the menu. And at the time, Yoshie was one of a handful of female sushi chefs in the U.S. “They said the temperature of a woman’s hands is too high to handle fresh fish,” says Yoshie with a shrug. But Yoshie proved the critics wrong as she created delectable sushi for a legion of fans.
Though we’ll miss Yoshie, sushi will stay on the menu, says Chef Brian Piasecki, with Yoshie’s protégés carrying on her work.
5 Questions With Yoshie
- What is your favorite sushi to make?
My favorite sushi to make is actually a roll that is on the menu right now – it’s called the Dragon Roll and consists of two types of tuna, tempura shrimp, cucumber and red peppers topped with tobiko (flying fish roe). It is one of my favorites because it looks so beautiful and is truly an artful presentation.
- Do you have a favorite moment from all your years at California Grill?
There have been so many over the past 17 years! One that stands out was just a few years ago when a woman came to the California Grill with her family and she was celebrating her 78th birthday. She was fascinated by what I was doing and came over and visited me. I asked her what her favorite type of sushi was and she said that she has never eaten sushi before! That was the perfect cue for me to make her something special to enjoy for her birthday. She was absolutely thrilled and couldn’t believe that she had gone her entire 78 years without enjoying this amazing culinary treat. It was very special to see her reaction and to have her experience this for the first time here at the California Grill.
- A funny moment from your years at California Grill?
Probably one of the funniest stories was when I was serving a California roll to a guest and the gentleman actually though that the green wasabi (Japanese horseradish) on his plate was guacamole. Boy, was he surprised, but it was too late because he put the whole green ball in his mouth. He was okay, thank goodness, and we both got a great laugh afterwards.
- What’s your favorite meal to cook at home?
I love having the whole family at home for a meal, and one of my favorite dishes to cook is a large pork roast that I can hand-shred for the whole family – along with homemade eggrolls.
- What’s next?
I just want to be able to relax and enjoy spending time with my family, my husband, three children and all 10 grandchildren.