AS a self-confessed foodie I’m ashamed to admit I’d never tried to make sushi.
Whether it’s the raw fish or the intricacy of rolling seaweed, something has always held me back.
Thanks to Corrine Kielty and Kate Wheadon – owners of Calderdale’s first sushi business, Sushi Tuesday – all that was about to change.
The two mums have set up the business, based on their love of the Japanese food and they take over Crumb, a fully-equipped kitchen in Halifax Road, Todmorden, two days a week. From there, they sell takeaway boxes and package up trays ready to be sold in Pennine Provisions, Hebden Bridge.
The valley was never their target audience, but once they saw Crumb lying empty during the week, they decided to give it a go. The results are already paying off.
Whether it’s Manchester commuters who live nearby or the people who have moved to Todmorden and Hebden Bridge after a spell in the city, Sushi fans are coming thick and fast.
Kate and Corinne went to school together, but it was thanks to Facebook they were reunited.
Corinne, who lives in Ripponden, says of sushi: “You just can’t get it anywhere in Calderdale.
“I was making it at home and I’d put things about my experiences on Facebook and Kate would comment and give me tips.”
Kate, who now lives in Mankinholes, tried sushi in Cape Town while visiting her brother around 15 years ago. Corinne was a more recent convert but both admit being addicts.
They began hatching their business plan.
It came to fruition one night after a couple of glasses of Dutch courage and from there it was on to a training course before spending each and every Tuesday doing product testing.
That’s where Sushi Tuesday was born.
“We went on a sushi course in September and that was the first time we’d discussed it properly,” said Kate, who has three children.
As well as their bags of enthusiasm, they have the business brains to back it up.
Kate worked in sales and marketing and Corinne as a book-keeper. A dream team, some might say.
Sushi means vinegared rice – not, as many believe, raw fish.
Even Corinne and Kate are surprised which of their lines one is already selling the best.
Of their three ranges – vegetarian, contemporary and authentic – they are already finding as people try it for the first time, they are branching out to the authentic range for their second order.
The toppings on the vegetarian selection include omelettes, vegetables and fish – all cooked.
“You can pretty much use anything in them,” said Corinne.
With all the talk about food, the girls decided to put me through my paces.
They passed me a sushi mat and a bowl of water and I got stuck in creating the masterpieces of a California roll and crab onigiri.
The first step is to wet your hands to stop the rice sticking – by now it’s sticky as superglue.
From there it was a careful positioning of the rice onto the seaweed (Nori), spreading it evenly across.
We then picked the filling, and lined up, with military precision, cucumber and crabstick along with the obligatory wasabi and mayonnaise.
Then came the critical moment – the rolling.
This was the bit I’d worried about, but a quick wiggle of the mat and minutes later we were all proudly staring at my first California roll.
After some proud staring, it was nother a crab onigiri.
With a specially-designed mould (and a strip of seaweed to cover my mistake) there was another great-looking addition to my tray,
But as nice as it was to prepare the finished product, the actual preparation can take hours.
Kate says her tip is to start preparing three hours before you think you need to.
When they’re cooking, the pair are at work for 8am, cooking, washing and drying the rice, before filleting and prepping the fish and the vegetables.
This sushi game isn’t for the late risers.
Luckily, for those of us not really ready to sign away our nights washing rice, they will do all the hard work.
You just need to log on to Facebook, Twitter or pick up the phone and call in your order.
There are specials up for grabs and they will take requests (that’s how Kate ended up You Tubing how to fillet a mackerel) where they can.
As well as their lunchboxes, which start at £3.95, they also offer a dinner box, cutting the calories out of the Friday night takeaway.
And the verdict?
Well, the tray I brought back to the office was nibbled in a flash – the best review you could get.
Sushi Tuesday is open from 11am and 2pm on Wednesdays to Fridays.
It is also stocked in Pennine Provisions, Hebden Bridge. Visit them at www.sushituesday.co.uk or on Twitter @Sushi_Tuesday.