When you think of the highest-rated culinary courses throughout the United States, New York and Los Angeles probably comes to mind. And yet, according to online ratings throughout Facebook, Google, Groupon, Living Social and Travelzoo, the highest rated sushi class in the Continental United States exists in the state of Texas.
Carl Rosa, owner and founder of the ExploreSushi.com, Ramen in Common, and Journey2Japan.com, established beginner and advanced sushi classes over 14 years ago. Today, his classes possess a cumulative rating of 4.96 stars out of a 5-star rating. Do the math. This is a 99.2% approval rating for more than ten years. In the world of sushi, that's almost hard to believe.
"Sushi, for the most part, is a horrible value." says Rosa. The portions are small, the quality is usually mediocre at best and the value is deplorable. A run-of-the-mill sushi dinner can cost you $80-$100 and that is sad, because the quality is usually embarrassingly poor throughout the country."
Rosa has been teaching the art of sushi throughout Colorado, Atlanta and Texas on behalf of several groups and associations but gave it all up to begin hosting classes for private groups in their homes. For him, it was not only a smart business decision, but he believes it ensures the class cost is spent in the right places.
"Sushi classes for the public requires a big class room or kitchen and the one-to-one approach is removed. Thirty percent or more of the cost could be taken from the customer just for the rental space. I'd rather the customer keep the money and spend less on learning how to make amazing sushi in their own kitchen. Even better, they can open up their own bottle of wine and sake and leave the permitting and drinking laws to the restaurants. They have implicit freedom, safety and comfort in their own homes. And when they make sushi with their own hands, in their own homes, they truly love it."
An argument well made.
Throughout the year, Rosa also provides tours to Japan and has been a tour guide since 2007. Nine years ago, he began working with the finest sushi restaurant in the world - 'Sukiyabashi Jiro' (from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame) to host lunches and dinners for his groups. After that, he formed a Japanese ramen group (the real ramen...not the instant stuff) that has grown to over 3,600 members. Today, Rosa's tours encompass every conceivable avenue in Japan while he negotiates his time between sushi classes and flying back and forth to Japan as often as his schedule allows.
In 2015, he collaborated with Tokyo-based Film Director Aoki Watanabe, assembling a short student-funded film named 'The Pursuit for Perfect Sushi.' The film cataloged Rosa traveling through Japan and sampling the finest sushi available throughout the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Sendai, Otaru and Sapporo (view clip of film). The film was shown as a feature during the Japan Festival in Atlanta, Georgia in 2017.
His personal life? That's the easiest part. Carl is married, to this wife Sonya, and they recently celebrated 24 years of marriage. Due to his traveling schedule, they have a home in Kingwood, Texas as well as an apartment in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
For more info:
RamenInCommon Facebook Group