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Local chef teaches sushi making in Birmingham

By Anna McFall

It is a type of food that is so popular it can be found in specialty restaurants and even in grocery store coolers. Some might find it scary to eat or even gross. Others embrace the challenge of the popular sushi cuisine.

Now, in one afternoon, sushi connoisseurs can learn how to make sushi at home, for a fraction of the price that restaurants charge.

Trussville native Kelly Viall recently began teaching sushi classes to groups, and her business, Birmingham Sushi Classes, is becoming increasingly popular.

What started out as requests for a personal sushi course, Viall quickly realized she had a knack for sushi and that customers were willing to learn.

“I worked as a sushi chef for three years, and people would ask me all the time to teach them how to make sushi,” Viall said.

In an effort to do just that, Viall quit her regular job in hopes of being her own boss. With the help of her sister Shannon as well as family and friends, Birmingham Sushi Classes are booking up quickly.

Learn the hands-on art of sushi making.              Photo by Anna McFall/Trussville Tribune


In one afternoon of class, students not only learn about the proper way to eat sushi, they learn the proper way to order it from restaurants, how to make perfect sushi rice, how to make sauces and special dishes and even get to taste test the entire class menu, as students learn to roll their own sushi.

To help raise awareness of the classes, Viall listed her new idea on sites like Groupon and Living Social, selling thousands of vouchers to people who want to learn to make sushi on their own.

“It was wild how it just took off, and now I am booked through December,” she said.

Viall teaches the class at Pepper Place near downtown Birmingham, but is looking to expand her facility at the end of the year.

Birmingham Sushi Classes offers a unique experience for kids and adults alike.      Viall uses her chef experience to share tips and tricks with students and also shares the best places to go in town to get quality sushi-making ingredients.

“We’ve sold over two thousand classes since May and I teach between 40-60 students how to roll their own every week,” she said.  “Stop spending a ton of money eating out and start making sushi at home.  You’ll be blown away by the amount of money you save.”

Students get to sample soup and sushi made by Viall, and also get to have hands on training in the art of sushi.

Viall says the most important thing to have for making sushi is a good rice cooker.  Students not only  learn how to make perfect sushi rice, but also how to make Spicy Mayo, Eel Sauce, Bang Bang sauce and more.

Classes are taught at different times throughout the week, and reservations are required for the class. This holiday season, Birmingham Sushi Classes will come to you, as they are now offering catering and party sessions.

Information on class times, prices and more can be found by visiting www.birminghamsushiclasses.com or visit Birmingham Sushi Class on Facebook.



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