Mikki Hommas Sushi Village responsible for educating Whistler on the art of sushi
One of the funniest episodes of the Simpsons was when Lisa suggested dining at a restaurant and eating something other than "hamburgers, pizza or chicken."
To which Homer replied, "Oh right, like there is something else."
And when Lisa suggested trying sushi at a Japanese restaurant, Bart replied, "Hey, wait a minute. Isnt sushi supposed to be raw fish?"
"As usual school yard rumours contain a kernel of truth. In Japan sushi is considered a delicacy and an art form."
Indeed Lisa. And if theres one man responsible in Whistler for educating its residents about the joys and subtleties of well-prepared sushi, it is Mikki Homma, proprietor of Sushi Village, a Whistler institution if there ever was one.
It was 18 years ago when Mikki and his two partners at the time came north to Whistler for some skiing. When it came to finding a restaurant for apres ski food, they found only four or five restaurants, and only one that was serving edible food. And if one had asked where the nearest sushi place was, Mikki would have either got a puzzled look or gales of laughter. So seeing opportunity where others saw none, Mikki and his partners decided to open Whistlers first Japanese restaurant.
"People thought we were crazy, but we saw opportunity. There was only one good restaurant in town, so we thought if we served good food, then people would come and we would be successful."
And what does Mikki think now that Whistler has got between 80 and 90 restaurants, many with world class chefs and menus, all fiercely competing for the local and tourist dollar?
"I dont mind. The more restaurants that are serving good food the more people will come. Competition is good."
Sushi Village has benefited from having a master sushi chef in Toshi Kobayashi, whom Mikki was quick to credit for establishing and keeping his restaurants high sushi standards.
"Toshi went back to Japan once but he couldnt stay away and came back," Mikki says with a small smile.
Sushi is a unique food and as such there is usually no in-between; either its divine, seducing ones taste buds with an explosion of flavours on the palette. On the other hand, you are in trouble if your first taste was at some dreadful office party, where some idiot ordered some takeout from a plaza mall. And surprise, surprise, the stuff tasted like wet, fishy paste and you swore that you would never try sushi again. If you are nodding your head, then you need to sample Toshis wizardry with rice and fish. I dont know how he does it, but Toshi has got a way of preparing his rice that is just right, a little crunchy, but not tough, leaving one to savour the oh so soft and delicate, flavourful fish on the inside.