Wow! ...classes at the Epicurean are expensive
-3 Snaps! Try it. You might like it.
Sure, $80 a head seemed like a lot of moolah for sushi. But I love the stuff! So when I heard about a hands on experience with Viet Vo, a high energy and experienced chef preparing the tasty rice dishes, I was on it. Vo is founder of Mad Chef LLC and former Executive Chef at Ox and Fields in Tampa. I have photographed his beautiful work before.Wow, that was expensive!
The experience was held in the Epicurean Theater, part of the Epicurean Hotel, a Bern’s Steakhouse Property. Bern's is a venerable eatery with worldwide acclaim. The theater is set up like a modern auditorium style classroom, with tiered seats and a preparation island in the front. Demonstrations are exhibited on flat screen TVs for easier viewing. During this event tables were also set up for participants to try their hand at rolling the delicate dishes.
Chef Vo is an entertainer. His teaching style is high energy and quirky, mixed with self-deprecating humor and genuine skill. The class itself was interesting, but not what I expected. The event promotion said, “Attendees will get their fill of delicious, freshly made sushi creations as a reward. Your choice of red or white wine will be also poured during the class.” There was indeed a plate of good albeit basic sushi containing a sushi burrito, tempura shrimp, salmon and tuna nigiri, seaweed salad and one glass of good Cabernet Sauvignon. One. For $160 (there were 2 of us) the value was disappointing. A plate of professionally rolled sushi (prepared before arrival) and a couple of shots at roll-your-own is a cool experience but for that price we could have eaten very well across the street at Bern's Steak House. I appreciate the chance to be instructed by someone as experienced as Chef Vo, but still...! There were between 25 and 30 participants all given 2 opportunities to try their hand at rolling. It was advertised as a two-hour event but only lasted an hour and 15 minutes.The promo said there would be "Salmon, tuna, and eel, oh my!" I love eel rolls. There were none. Eel sauce? Yes. Eel rolls? No.
Vo is an affable talented chef. He is on my radar and I will go wherever he is next creating his delicious dishes. Further Epicurean experience, however, will have to wait until I can do some considerable wealth building.