Temaki and Tea competes nationally


contributing writer

NMU’s Temaki and Tea will be submitting last weeks sushi-rolling event to a national competition.

The event “Sushi: Nutrition and Tradition Rolled into One,” consisted of a nutritional presentation and a workshop in which participants got to roll their own sushi, said Robin Rahoi, a registered dietitian and manager of cash operations for NMU’s Dining Services.

The event had faculty, students and community residents participating, Rahoi said.

“We set up the event for around 35 people, and we assumed that we had overbooked, but 40 people showed up,” Rahoi said.

Last year Temaki and Tea entered a contest held by the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) in the category of “Stand Alone Retail Operation,” where they placed second nationally.

Temaki and Tea is entering another contest held by NACUFS called “The Most Innovative Nutrition Contest.” Groups who submit for the contest send in pictures from the event and information on the food and nutritional content. The winner receives national recognition and free admission to the NACUFS national convention in June, where the winner is announced publically.

Rahoi is very confident about Temaki and Tea’s entry into the contest.

“I think we’re going to win, I really do,” said Rahoi. “I don’t think that anyone has a nutrition [plan] as good as ours.”

Temaki and Tea’s event concentrated on the experience of Japanese cuisine along with the nutritional benefits.

“In Japan they eat real basic type foods–what we would call whole foods. They are very recognizable: Fruits, vegetables, food from the sea and they drink a lot of tea,” said Rahoi. “Their food is generally low in fat. In Japan their heart disease and cancer rates are significantly lower.”

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is responsible for the deaths of 7 million Americans per year. Lowering high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure with a healthier diet can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

The event also focused on the traditional aspects of sushi. One of the employees, Hiromi Nakamura of Higashiomi, Japan, spoke about proper sushi etiquette.

“I spoke about the Japanese tradition, how we eat food and what we eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner,” said Nakamura. “And about the manners, how to hold chopsticks and how to hold a bowl.”

Pam Phillips, head chef at Temaki and Tea, taught the participants of the event how to roll the sushi. She believes that healthy eating is important and possible for NMU students.

“I think we have all the things in place at Northern; it’s just about choices. It’s about the students going through and picking the right things to eat and making the right choices about their nutrition,” Phillips said.