Monday, December 28, 2009

CKCA Grad Matt Turchin Takes First Step in Sushi Career

A Pasadena native and current Queens resident, our own Matt Turchin (pictured left), a CKCA Culinary Arts Grad (Summer '09) has finished his internship at Prime Grill, and entered the workforce in the sphere of his chosen field: Sushi!

Matt is thankful that his experience at Prime Grill did great things for his knife skills, since he spent most of his day working in the underground prep kitchen. He said Prime Grill also is responsible for helping him to understand the inner workings of a fast-paced professional kitchen.

You can now visit Matt at the SoHo Dean&Deluca (560 Broadway), but his employer is actually a 'Kaiseki-style' five star Japanese restaurant called Rosanjin Tribeca. "They lend some of their sushi chefs out to a few high end markets to run the sushi department there. I was hired to assist the sushi chefs in their preparation of daily menu items, and to ensure the smooth running of the station, including dealing with customers.

Since Matt's training at CKCA also included preparation for the Servsafe and DOH food safety exams, he found that his certificates in these areas allowed him to take on an additional responsibility in food protection.

"I was also hired to be the food safety manager for the station, as rice and raw fish represent serious potential health hazards if not dealt with properly," Matt said.

Matt works six days in a 40 hour week, from 7am to 3pm.

"Being a sushi chef assistant is the first step in the long process of training as a sushi chef, but I'm up for the task. Working at the store is great, because I am exposed to high quality food products which I would otherwise not have much chance to experience," Matt said.

Matt reported that the store in Soho attracts lots of rich and famous people, and he has had a chance to meet a few, including Jeffrey Steingarten, food critic for Vogue magazine and judge for Iron Chef America. "He is just as grumpy as he seems on TV by the way," Matt said.

Matt occasionally has had to field some amusing questions; "The other day a girl, holding a spider roll at arms length, and with an expression of mixed disgust and curiosity, asked me if it contained real spider. A fair question I suppose, though she might have asked the same about the dragon roll, or wondered why the California roll didn't taste like hippies and movie stars," Matt said.

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