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Behind a vintage Coke machine in Calgary’s Sho Sushi you will find Ajito, an izakaya, or informal Japanese bar. Here you’ll find signature cocktails and beautifully executed dishes, the latter courtesy Head Chef Taira.

To become an expert in sushi, one must show devotion and patience to master the numerous skills required. “Becoming an adept sushi chef is a reflection of one’s character to being a dedicated and persistent person,” says Chef Taira. Curiosity and a willingness to try new things are also important, he adds, and his hope is for his guests to appreciate sushi as much as he does. “The dishes I create are often replicated versions of things I find most enjoyable but with my own splash of creativity.”

Kuruma ebi sushi, or tiger prawn, is Chef Taira’s favourite for two reasons: firstly, the shrimp originates from his home town Kumamoto, in Japan, and he is reminded of home whenever he eats it. Second is its sweet flavour, the result of simply boiling the prawn. “Simplicity is sometimes best, and the most delicious things do not always have to be complicated dishes.”

He shares his recipe for Chawanmushi made with dashi (clear soup). Dashi serves as a foundation for many Japanese dishes, and a fitting place to start practising. The ingredients are also easily sourced. “with such accessibility and ease of preparation, dashi soup can conveniently become a healthy and enjoyable addition to anyone’s everyday meals.”


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