On Life and Sushi
Sushi is about balance.
I try to make sushi appealing for the eyes and the mouth. It must be visually appealing and have a range of flavours. I want customers to enjoy the entire experience.
When making sushi rolls it’s important to create balance. Hot with cold, sweet with spicy, a good balance of colour; I like to mix extremes together. Sushi is expensive, so it’s important to pay close attention to the fine details. Like having the fish slightly colder than the rice that encases it.
My sushi background is part of what brought me to Edmonton. I was born in Israel, lived for 13 years in Japan, then spent 10 years in LA before coming here. I had a friend who worked at Mikado, a restaurant that specializes in Japanese cuisine, and Mikado helped me get into Canada by having a job waiting for me. I’d heard good things about Canadians’ positive nature, so I decided to give it a shot.
In LA I worked near NBC Studios and got customers such as Jay Leno. They had really high standards, and I learned a lot from serving very ‘particular’ celebrities.
In Edmonton I notice people are more accepting of different cultures; in LA there was a clear line, a boundary that doesn’t exist here.
We get a variety of people at Mikado – Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese – and there is an authentic fusion that takes place. And that fusion, that balance, is why Edmonton is where I want to plan my future.
I’m here to stay. My wife and I would like to buy a house here because we love taking walks to the park and the safety and nature that exist in Edmonton. That wasn’t possible in LA.
Here, it feels like there is room to grow, that not all the discoveries have already been made. It’s here that I want to explore my dream of opening a Sushi restaurant.
Ron Elmeleh has worked as a sushi chef for 10 years and lived in Edmonton for four years. He loves Edmonton’s climate – especially winter – and looks forward to a rewarding future here in the capital city. You can find him supervising the sushi bar and creating specialized delicacies such as Camrose, Nisku, and Alberta rolls at Mikado Restaurant.