Episode 7: It’s a sushi showdown at Ki on “Chef Artois”
Tune in below for a taste of our new culinary miniseries
Episode 7 of “Chef Artois,” hosted by Pay Chen, takes us to Ki Modern Japanese. This buzzing Bay Street destination known for its contemporary menu that puts a distinctively Toronto spin on sushi, yakitori and izakaya classics.
Ki’s kitchen is helmed by Hing Wong, a chef known for his creative panache. Torontonians are huge fans of Wong’s bold flavours, innovative techniques and irreverent makimono creations that incorporate unusual ingredients. His bigeye tuna roll, for instance, is a tantalizing combination of sweet (mango and kiwi), spicy (tomato salsa) and hot (karashi miso) elements. Today, Wong will be asking the “Chef Artois” contenders to re-create a modern Japanese triptych.
Home cooks Mat Mailandt and Falana Huggins will be facing the most daunting “Chef Artois” challenge to date. They’ll have just one hour to create not one, but three Ki dishes—two items from the sushi bar (modern makimono and new-wave nigiri), as well as a hot appetizer (haute gyoza). It’ll be no small feat to re-create these complex recipes, let alone to get them all done within the allotted time.
All three dishes necessitate culinary dexterity. Both the salmon maki roll (made with crispy leeks, avocado, arugula and pickled kohlrabi) and the nigiri (topped with espresso-soaked butterfish) demand pyrotechnical prowess, as they’re both seared with a blowtorch. The gyoza, meanwhile, will require fineness. Stuffed with minced, red miso-seasoned pork belly, these delicate dumplings can be a nightmare to fold. The silk-thin wrappers can easily burst, if overstuffed.
With 60 minutes on the clock, contestants Mailandt and Huggins step up to the chopping block and the Japanese tripleheader begins. This competition asks these two home cooks to be both sushi masters and dumpling experts, as well as phenomenal time managers. It’s a lot to ask. To find out who will triumph and be named the next Chef Artois, tune in above.
This bite-sized series—episodes are a satisfying 12 minutes long—was created in support of Rally for Restaurants, an initiative founded by Stella Artois to help support the restaurant industry as it rebuilds in the wake of the pandemic. In each weekly episode, two home cooks will step inside the kitchen of a Toronto restaurant to compete for the title of Chef Artois and win a $1,000 prize pack.
How to make Ki’s torched salmon makimono
Makes one roll
- ½ sheet pink soy paper
- ½ small avocado (about 60 grams), cut into thin strips lengthwise
- 30 grams arugula
- 30 grams pickled kohlrabi, cut into 10-centimer strips
- 60 grams sockeye salmon, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp spicy karashi sauce (see recipe below)
- Chives, chopped (for garnish)
- Fried leeks (for garnish)
- 65 grams sushi rice, seasoned and room temperature
Torched salmon roll recipe
- On a bamboo sushi mat, place the half sheet of pink soy paper.
- Wet your fingers, then place sushi rice on the soy paper. Working quickly, spread the rice so that it covers the soy paper. Leave a small, half-centimeter strip at the end of the paper.
- Arrange the avocado, arugula, kohlrabi inside the center of the rice. Place them neatly and evenly so each bite has the same amount of filling. Don’t over stuff your rolls—this will make it harder to shape.
- Next, form the makimono into a roll using the bamboo mat. Once satisfied with the shape of your roll, square off the top of the roll with the bamboo mat, creating a flat surface on which to place the salmon.
- Cup the bamboo mat with your hand and wedge the roll so that it sits in the palm of your hand, on top of the bamboo mat. Spoon the chopped salmon on the top of the roll. The raised edges of the bamboo mat should help keep the salmon from falling to the sides during this step.
- With the salmon covering the top of the roll, use the bamboo mat to help form the salmon. It should look neat (nothing hanging over the edges) and evenly distributed.
- Cut the roll into six pieces and then place them three-by-three on a plate.
- Using a hand-held torch, torch the salmon for several seconds until the oils in the fish are released.
- Liberally apply the spicy karashi sauce to the salmon. Garnish with the fried leeks and chopped chives.
Spicy karashi sauce ingredients and method
- 1 tbsp truffle oil
- 15 grams horseradish, grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 180 grams gochujang
- 120 grams sugar
- 90 millilitres rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp ginger juice
- 4 tbsp 7-Up
To make the spicy karashi sauce, simply place all ingredients in a food processor. On a low speed, blend together.