Tag Archives: Tojo

History Of The California Roll

Last week Meinhardt’s opened a second location and as I was roaming the aisles, I spied those darn Avocados From Mexico! This time they were making their way into sushi rolls! This got me thinking about all the rolls I’ve had topped with or filled with this wonderful fruit and wondering how avocado got to be a big part of the North American sushi menus.

California Roll Avocados From Mexico

I remember being told that Tojo had invented the California Roll in Vancouver when he moved from Japan and was trying to get Vancouverites more excited about sushi. He realized the seaweed and raw fish was a bit iffy for these newcomers to sushi, so he turned the rolls inside out to hide it the seaweed and began playing with ingredients such as cooked crab and avocado. A lot of people from California made there way to Vancouver for Tojo’s offerings and the roll was a favourite with them, hence the name.

Another explanation stems from California where Chef Ichiro Mashita was welding his sushi knife. In the 1970’s tuna was only available part of the year and as Americans liked the fatty texture of the fish he looked for something to replace it with when it wasn’t around and found avocado in the produce isle. He also turned the roll inside out as American diners found seaweed unappealing.   Of course these were Mexican avocados that had then been planted in California, so hence not really Avocados from Mexico, but due to drought California has been importing Mexican Avocados and Vancouver sushi is practically 100% Avocados From Mexico right now.


I prefer to side with our local sushi chef, but it’s just as possible that both chefs came to the tasty conclusion around the same time. These crazy rolls are now a fav across North America and have led to all sorts of non-traditional sushi rolls. Of course the best are made WITH Avocados from Mexico.


Now I’m no expert in making sushi at home (as you can see from the pictures above), so I went to the experts on youtube. I’m going to watch these a few times and try again!

This will also require sushi rice.

What else do you like to roll into your sushi rolls and where do you eat sushi in Vancouver?


Chefs Across the Water 2011

Hastings House Country House Hotel and Dining Room on Salt Spring Island is pleased to announce our guest chef program is returning for 2011—top BC chefs have been invited to prepare multiple-course dinners in the Hastings House kitchen, incorporating Salt Spring Island’s produce, seafood, and meats. Wine pairings featuring BC wines will be offered to complement the extraordinary menus.


Salt Spring Island is a food-lover’s paradise, blessed with a mild Mediterranean-like climate and devoted growers and producers renowned for their organic fruits and vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Fresh-caught, wild seafood rounds out nature’s local pantry. In recent years, island wineries have further added to the diversity of the local harvest. Diners can look forward to amazing experiences as the celebrated guest chefs each put their own personal spin on Salt Spring Island flavours.

Help support the Salt Spring Abattoir Project
These events will also raise awareness of the health and economic benefits of using local, organic and sustainable ingredients and bring into focus how local farming is being challenged by changing regulations that favour large
agri-businesses. A portion of the proceeds of the Guest Chef dinners will go to Island Natural Growers to benefit the Salt Spring Abattoir Project.

Links of interest:

Lambs to Slaughter

Livestock production on Salt Spring farms has decreased 50% in last 5 years

Chefs Across The Water Schedule

June 27

Seven course meal prepared by the returning chefs from 2010:

John Bishop, Sean Brennan, Frank Pabst, Jean-Francis and Alessandra Quaglia, Pino Posteraro and Hastings House Chef Marcel Kauer

$120.00 Per person, wine pairings $45.00 per person

July 18

Five course dinner by Vikram Vij

$100.00 per person, cocktail pairings $40.00

Aug 15

Five course dinner By Ernst Dorfler

$100.00 per person, wine pairings $40.00

Sept 12

Five course dinner by Michel Jacob

$100.00 per person, wine pairings $40.00

Oct 3

Five course dinner by Tojo

$100.00 per person, wine & Sake pairings $40.00


An Evening To Benefit The Canadian Red Cross

Take a group of compassionate chefs and talented bartenders, add a splash or two of Canada’s top entertainers and it’s a special evening of fundraising on behalf of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s northern regions.

Join Tojo-san as he brings together a culinary cast of John Bishop (Bishop’s), Pino Posteraro (Cioppino’s), Thomas Haas (Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie), Quang Dang (Diva at the Met), Wayne Martin (Crave Restaurant), Ned Bell (The Rosewood Hotel Georgia) and Eleanor Chow (Chambar/The Dirty Apron Cooking School) with bartenders, David Wolowydnik (West) and Danielle Tatarin (The Keefer Bar) for an exquisite evening of food and wine topped off with performances by Jann Arden and the Canadian Tenors. Emceed by the affable Vicki Gabereau, the fundraising reception for the Canadian Red Cross on June 12th will feature specialties from each of Vancouver’s leading restaurants, intimate performances by Canadian icons and a silent auction of outstanding culinary experiences.

Tojo and Friends

Sunday, June 12, 2011


1133 West Broadway

6:30 pm to 10:00 pm

“I’m so grateful to everyone for their support and generosity to come together and do our part for the relief efforts in Japan,” says Tojo. “It is an honour to host this fundraising event with these special friends for the people of Japan.”

Tickets are $1000 per person and are available by calling Tojo’s at 778.877.2390 or emailing tojosforjapan@gmail.com. A limited number of advance tickets are available to the Tojo and Friends event (www.tojos.com). A portion of the ticket price will be tax receipted through the Canadian Red Cross. Make this the event to support the Canadian Red Cross in their efforts to assist the Japanese in need.

Four Chefs One Garden Makes Living Slow Deliciously West Coast

Four Chefs One Garden Evaleen Jaager Roy had a vision. Take one glorious west coast garden described and photographed through the seasons, add four celebrity chefs with seasonal, locally-inspired recipes, and add unique ideas for “living slow” and enjoying each moment in this magical part of the world. The result: the just-released Four Chefs One Garden.

Part cookbook, part gardening primer, Four Chefs One Garden is a love poem to Vancouver, told in flowers and fettuccini. In her unique debut, the Vancouver native traces one year spent in her terraced, ocean view garden and her kitchen. The book weaves together gardening ideas from some of the West Coast’s leading gardeners, including Brian Minter of Minter Gardens and includes seasonal recipes from some of the city’s leading chefs, including Umberto Menghi, Michel Jacob, Tojo and Vikram Vij.

Lush photography shows the march of Vancouver’s changing seasons, both in the garden, where spring rains lead to summer roses, and in the kitchen, where Tuscan salads give way to spicy winter curries.  Learn more about Evaleen’s book, the fabulous chefs, guest gardeners and her quest to live slow on Canada’s West Coast. 

“One year ago, I walked away from the boardroom, overnight flights and Blackberries and stepped into my garden,” says author, Evaleen Jaager Roy. “And bit by bit, as spring turned to summer and summer to fall, the world began to slow down. I was left with a few simple joys: the joy of digging in the dirt and watching things grow and the joy of cooking – taking the best of each season and turning it into sustenance and celebration with the people I love.”