Sushi 101: The Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass

If you’re into Japanese food, it won’t be a surprise if sushi is one of the dishes on top of your head (along with sashimi, takoyaki etc.). Often confused (especially for non-Japanese/non-Asians) with sashimi, sushi is one of the most popular Japanese dishes across the globe and even the West has developed their own variation of these rice rolls. Among the global brands of sushi restaurants, Nobu by celebrity master-chef Nobu Matsuhisa is one of the leading household names. As they say, if it’s sushi, IT HAS TO BE NOBU. And when I learned that I will be joining Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass, it is like winning the foodie lottery! Here’s why.

Sushi Fascination

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you might have noticed how many times I featured sushi places in Doha. Even on buffets and brunches, I never forget to take a snap or mention if sushi selection is included. Next to pasta, sushi is one of my go-to comfort food. Be it a celebration or a pick-me-up meal, these dainty rice rolls have been a great pal.

While it seems easy to make, sushi preparation is considered an art. It involves years of experience to master the craft and to be called a sushi chef is such a huge honor. I’ve been wanting to attend an actual sushi class but my impatience had to lead me to countless hours of watching youtube videos [] so just I can start rolling my own maki rolls.

Sushi Instagram Post:

Not bad for my first time to roll my own #sushi. #asian #food #instafood

A post shared by Gerald Sarmiento (@geraldsarmiento) on

Four years ago, I rolled my very first cucumber rolls. Yeah, it looks horrible and full of rice but for such novice, it was a major achievement. Never felt so proud!

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass

Fast forward to 2017, I was ecstatic to finally have my first live sushi MasterClass, and in Nobu, no less. Thanks to Four Seasons Hotel Doha for inviting me to join a group of sushi enthusiasts in an exclusive class held every first Saturday of the month. The class  is pretty straightforward and simple (or is it?). Like any MasterClass that you might have seen (hello Master Chef fanboys!), the Sushi Chef will show you the step by step procedure on how each dish is prepared. Observation (and taking photos for me since I have to blog about the whole experience) is the key how you can replicate the dish after the demonstration is over. Sounds easy right?

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Sushi Rice

Sushi Rice Preparation: Easier than what it seems.

That afternoon, apart from a brief demo on how sushi rice is prepared, we were taught how to prepare three types of sushi: Maki, Nigiri, and Temaki.


According to Wikipedia, Maki Sushi or Makizushi (巻き寿司, “rolled sushi”), norimaki (海苔巻き, “Nori roll”) or makimono (巻物, “variety of rolls”) is a cylindrical sushi, formed with the help of a bamboo mat known as a makisu. It is normally wrapped in nori (seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso (perilla) leaves. Maki sushi is usually cut into six or eight pieces, which constitutes a single roll order.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Maki preparation

Just the right amount of rice.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Maki Rolling

Sushi Chef shows how to properly roll an Avocado and Salmon Maki

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Salmon and Avocado Maki

My Salmon and Avocado Maki waiting to be cut.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Cucumber Maki

My Cucumber Maki (2017 version)

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Maki Finish Product

All nicely cut.


Temaki (手巻, “hand roll”) is a large cone-shaped piece of nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about ten centimeters (4 in) long and is eaten with fingers. It is also advisable for it to be eaten quickly as nori absorbs moisture from the filling, making it soft and difficult to bite through.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Temaki Preparation

Sushi Chef arranges the filling for the Temaki

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Temaki Rolling

Nori has to be rolled from a certain angle. Take note Gerald.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Temaki ingredients

Now I’m all set to roll (before I realized the tuna slice is missing).

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Temaki Roll

Not as pretty as I was expecting.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Temaki

Not that bad from afar eh?


Nigiri Sushi (握り寿司, “hand-pressed sushi”) consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses between the palms of the hands to form an oval-shaped ball, and a topping (the neta) draped over the ball. It is usually served with a bit of wasabi; neta are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Nigiri Technique

Nigiri preparation involves a specific finger technique.

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Nigiri Guide

A step by step guide for the perfect Nigiri

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Nigiri

Nigiri Sushi: It comes in threes

Sushi Etiquette

Aside from the sushi demo and actual preparation, that all-important sushi etiquette was also discussed. Sorry to burst your bubbles but I am sure 8 out of 10 will be guilty of these sushi no-nos. Ready?

Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass Sushi Etiquette

Sushi Etiquette. Image source: Matador Network


Sushi Novice: Go or No Go?

Whether you are an aspiring sushi chef, a foodie or a complete novice who is just looking for something new to try on, the Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass will surely teach you a new thing or two. The class is very interactive and there are sous chefs who will guide you along the way as your roll your very first maki sushi. Needless to say, I had an amazing afternoon taking notes on how to improve my rolls from here on.

I can say that this class is best shared with your friends as rolling a disastrous first maki needs company for a good tummy-aching laugh. It is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss if you are fascinated with sushi and Japanese food in general. An absolute go, be sure to catch the next class available!


Nobu Doha Sushi MasterClass

Location: Nobu, Four Seasons Hotel, The Corniche, Dafna, Doha

Fee: QAR400/ person

Date: Every first Saturday of the month

Time: 2:00- 3:00 PM

Contact: +974 4494 88600


Nobu - Four Seasons Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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