An Unforgettable Team Building Experience: Sushi Making with Sushi Me Up

Team building activities are a part of who we are at Archery Games. We love hosting them and we also love participating in them. When Sushi Me Up reached out to introduce themselves and their new activity, we didn’t hesitate to get something on the calendar as quickly as possible.

Our recent culinary adventure into the world of sushi making proved to be an extraordinary team building experience. In the words of Nick, the Archery Games league manager, “Of the activities we’ve done, this has been my favorite.”

Led by Nobuko Kunimatsu Simoneaux, Sushi Me Up comes to your venue to teach you the art of sushi making. Nobuko grew up in the Saga prefecture of Japan, which is known for its seaweed and rice production. She’s since attended Johnson & Wales University of culinary education and honed her sushi craft at the Sushi Chef Institute.  Although Sushi Me Up is a business, Nobuko’s main goal seemed to be sharing her love of sushicraft and turning us all into amateur home sushi makers.

The Preparations:

Nobuko and her team arrived early to turn our modest Archery Dodgeball warehouse into an gourmet sushi making classroom. They brought tables of the appropriate height, table cloths, and all of the sushi making cutlery and accessories we’d need. With the venue beautifully decorated and everything meticulously arranged, we grabbed drinks eagerly awaited the start of the class. Since Sushi Me Up comes to you, you’re welcome to bring whatever drinks you like.

Ready to make some sushi

Meeting the Sushi Experts:

Once we were ready to begin, Nobuko and her team served us green tea and introduced themselves with a bit of background on sushi, creating a welcoming atmosphere that instilled a sense of confidence in our ability to master this ancient culinary tradition. Their expertise and passion for the art form were evident from the start.

Getting starting on the (untraditional) California Roll

With aprons on and bamboo mats before us, we embarked on our sushi journey. To build some confidence, Nobuko started us off on California rolls, an inside-out roll only that was possibly the hardest to roll, but also the most satisfying. California rolls are a fusion of course, adding avocado, which isn’t traditionally found in Japanese sushi.

Nobuko teaching us the proper technique to cut the cucumber

First rolls!

Moving onto the cucumber roll

Next we moved on the cucumber roll. While it seems simple, the cucumber roll is known for having a unique square shape. Rolling the square shape with the bamboo mat added a bit of challenge and was a fun way to use up our extra cucumber. This was also a fun vegetarian roll, should your group have anyone that doesn’t like fish.

Square(ish) cucumber rolls!

It’s Nigiri time!

“Nigiri” is what most restaurants call “sashimi”. Benihana, the hibachi restaurant, defines them as “Sashimi is a fresh slice of raw fish, and nigiri is a fresh slice of raw fish, atop a ball of sushi rice.” The trick with nigiri, of course, is the ball of sushi rice must be just right. Too loose and it will fall apart when picked up, too tight and you’ll lose the texture of the rice. Noboku also taught us the proper way to slice the fish just right. Interestingly, the heat of your hands can actually cook the fish slightly, so you have to be careful to handle the fish properly. We also cooked some of our nigiri with butane, which was surprisingly fun.

Nobuko demonstrating the proper technique to cut the salmon

Salmon nigiri!

Nick cooking his salmon Nigiri with butane

Our final roll: spicy tuna!

Nobuko finished things off with teaching us to prepare a spicy tuna roll. The spicy tuna roll is made with chopped tuna, allowing most restaurants and grocery stores to use the leftover odds-and-ends for this roll. Nobuko showed us how we could make this roll at home using premium tuna fillet.

Nobuko prepping the tuna for the spicy tuna rolls

Celebrating our sushicraft

After the hands-on session, it was time to indulge in our culinary masterpieces. With some friendly competition, we compared who’d created the best looking rolls and feasted on all of our homemade creations.

Sushi-making with Sushi Me Up proved to be one of the favorite team building activities we’ve done together. It blended learning and communication with delicious food! A week after we participated in the class, our team is still talking about the experience and joking about who made the best rolls.

Looking for even more idea for fun team building activities around Denver? Check out our article 15 Ideas for a Successful Team Building Event in Denver