Feature Spotlight: My Ninja, Sushi Artist Extraordinaire
We had the honor of meeting Bryan Daniels of My Ninja, a private sushi chef service offering delivery to the metro Atlanta area. Perfect for a romantic quarantined night.
Southern Sweets (SS): How did you get into the sushi making business?
My Ninja: I use to work as a host at RA Sushi, in Midtown Atlanta. As an assisting food runner, Head Sushi Chef David Lam noticed my eye for detail and diligent work ethic. He offered me the opportunity to move from hosting and food running to becoming a sushi chef. I asked him if a raise would be involved. He said "yes," so I was financially interested in the opportunity initially. As a sushi fan, I was definitely interested in learning the sushi making process. I have always been a perfectionist, so I took a great deal of pride in becoming a skilled sushi chef. I studied under many experienced chefs, researched YouTube videos, and began following a plethora of sushi chefs on Instagram to help advance my knowledge as well.
SS: Please explain to us what all you offer and some of your specialties.
My Ninja: My Ninja offers a multitude of different sushi related services! Live chef demonstrations, catering, sushi platters, date nights, sushi 101 classes, candy sushi platters, and multi-tier sushi cakes. Live Demonstrations and Catering services allow clients to have the luxury of a sushi restaurant in the privacy of their own home or specified venue. I will be on site to create dishes on site, while also engaging with guests to answer any inquiries they might have. Sushi Platters are a simplistic way of getting all the sushi rolls, nigiri, and/or sashimi you desire in one encased platter. Date Nights are designed to be a get away from the typical restaurant crowd to enjoy a relaxing dinner with your partner in the privacy of your home. Sushi 101 Classes give attendees the opportunity to get a brief overview of the art of sushi making and it's origin.
Attendees will get the chance to have hands on experience with making their own sushi, and also learn how to obtain the right ingredients and tools utilized for sushi making. Candy Sushi Platters are great for kids and adults! The platter consists of sushi themed desserts which resemble sushi in alternative form. There are also a few dessert options such as the notorious Passion Fruit Roll, which is entirely constructed of seasonal fruit, topped with special sauce. Finally, the Sushi Cakes, which can be single, double, or triple tier, are great for birthdays and weddings! Your Sushi Cake is completely customizable and will be covered with sushi rolls, nigiri, and/or sashimi of your choosing!
SS: What do you love most about the culinary scene in Atlanta?
My Ninja: I'd be lying if I said that being a Black sushi chef in "The Chocolate City" (Atlanta) didn't have its perks. Haha. Most of my clientele has been filled with people of color. I feel that Black people in particular are fearful of consuming raw fish, but are more likely to try it from an individual that reflects them as a person. Due to the high population of Black people within Atlanta, there seems to be more open-mindedness to hiring a Black sushi chef, rather than restricting yourself to the rigid mindset that sushi chefs should be of Asian or Hispanic/Latin decent. I enjoy challenging stereotypes by showing guests that Black people can do anything we set our mind to.
SS: What brings you the greatest joy working in your profession as a personal chef?
My Ninja: In a restaurant setting, there is a high amount of stress that comes with working in that environment. It's pretty much "cafeteria style," where the demand is so high to get food made and served that there is little reception or interaction with the guests, which takes away from the experience for me. They rarely know who made which roll, which results in little to no acknowledgment of my work. With personal chef service, the guests gets to observe and enjoy my work first hand! They are much more grateful and appreciative of my work which is extremely rewarding for me. Not to mention, I can be myself! I don't have to worry about representing some large company, I'm merely representing my brand, which is essentially me.
SS: What is one of your favorite meals to prepare?
My Ninja: The Avocado Bomb has become a staple dish for clients to request. It is simply-complex which makes it fun to create for guests. The amount of flavor packed into a freshly fried avocado catches people by surprise every time!
SS: What is one of your go-to cooking tips that anybody in the kitchen can find useful?
My Ninja: Taste your food! I find it hard to trust a waiter or chef that serves me something that they don't eat themselves. As a chef or cook, it's important to create dishes which suit your pallet. Your taste buds are the best judgement tool you have to produce a quality dish.
SS: For those people who don't eat sushi, but are looking to try, what do you recommend they try first?
My Ninja: The traditional California Roll is the simplest roll to start with. Crab is a 'ready to eat' fish which often puts novice sushi eaters at ease. People with shellfish allergies can have Imitation Crab in their rolls instead of real crab, as the Imitation Crab contains no crab at all.
SS: Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for those interested in becoming a chef?
My Ninja: Study, talk to experienced chefs, research YouTube videos, and just remain open minded to new techniques. There is no one way to make any dish, so you have to be versatile and willing to try new methods of producing dishes. The culinary industry is creative and forever changing due to new cooking methods, tools, and advancements in nutritional value. You can attend an accredited institute if you wish, but I didn't... and look at what I've become! It's about what you do with the knowledge you receive.
SS: Name your dream destination getaway and why?
My Ninja: Japan is on my bucket list because I would love to see traditional sushi chefs at work. I'd also like to one day receive authentic training from a master sushi chef, as well as to add that badge of honor to my arsenal. However, Kuwaii, Hawaii is my favorite vacation destination, because I love a tropical environment that isn't overly saturated with tourists.
SS: How can our readers contact you?
My Ninja: Follow me on Instagram: @my.ninja.bd
Phone: (404) 484-7486