Date: 2. January 2014

Client: Kiyokawa

Holiday party season is now in full swing! Dazzle your friends by being the “hostess with the sushi most-ess”. Sound like a lot of work? Here are my top 7 tips for putting out a great sushi themed spread while maintaining the energy to enjoy the party.

*These tips are not intended for make your own sushi parties. Those types of parties require a different set of logistics. If Santa says you’ve been nice, I’ll re-post on that in the next few weeks.
1 Get the portions right. I’ll offer a little nugget from my dad about sushi at parties: “Sushi and liquor? I’m eating and drinking my fill and everybody else is, too. You can’t expect people to hold back when it comes to sushi and liquor.” No truer words have been spoken about serving sushi at parties and events. People will go crazy over the stuff if it is on a party spread. Plan on 6-8 pieces per person; but beef it up to 10 if your crowd is particularly sushi-crazy.

2 Don’t try and offer a full sushi bar. Narrow your sushi roll selection to no more than 3 different types. This ensures that you can focus your prep efforts (easy for you) while giving guests a chance to sample everything (good for them).
3 Pick the right types of sushi rolls. For party platters, thick rolls (futomaki) and inside out rolls (ura maki) work best. And while sushi is most ideally eaten right as it is prepared, both of these types of rolls can be made a couple of hours ahead of time. To make ahead, cut rolls into desired number of pieces. Arrange on your serving platters or place in a plastic ware container and cover with a layer of damp cloths. Cover again with a good wrapping of plastic film and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes prior to serving.
4 Think outside the roll. Inari zushi, pressed sushi and nigiri zushi are also good make ahead options. Use the damp cloth method for keeping these sushi types fresh before serving.
5 Round out the menu with non-sushi items. Provide 3-4 items that offer a variety of tastes and textures. Edamame, dumplings, noodle salad, meat filled buns and nuts are a few options.
6 Create a signature sip. Good sake is always lovely; but cocktails infused with Asian flavors invoke a festive vibe. Or if time is short, reach for something bubbly – beer, ginger ale, sparkling wine, and even Perrier with a twist of citrus or a fruit garnish feels instantly like a party.
7 Don’t forget dessert! I have a sweet tooth so dessert is usually the first thing I decide on when making a party menu. Ginger cookies, chocolate dipped fruit, mini cupcakes, macarons, and indoor s’mores are my favorite happy endings to a sushi party. There’s really no need to stick to a strictly Asian dessert. Inject Asian flavors or go with what you like. My rule of thumb is just keep it fun and light.