Melanie Van Kort, Sushi Girl, Rolls Along

Categories: Chow Bella

Sushi Rolling
Carol Blonder
Preparing salmon for sushi

​So, it's Valentine's night in a Missouri college town.

At a local sushi restaurant, the chef walks out on his job.

The tall blonde waitress convinces the Chinese owner to train her to take over. Sounds like the set up for a politically incorrect joke, right?

Wrong. It's how Melanie Van Kort started her journey to become sushigirl.

Thumbnail image for Melanie Van Kort
Melanie Van Kort

Van Kort has worked in sushi establishments here in the Valley as well as in Missouri. She is currently getting that piece of paper, to make her legit, in the Culinary Arts program at Mesa Community College, as well certification in Sustainable Foods at Rio Salado College.

Desert Bloom Sushi
Carol Blonder
Desert Bloom Sushi

Sushigirl grew up a vegetarian Kansas (vegetarian in Kansas? We know, sounds like the start of another joke) with Mom and Grandma cultivating their edible gardens. Later, her sushi crush influenced the addition of fish to her diet. A commitment to clean and sustainable fish sources sets her apart from your typical sushi maker. There are fish she will not use, which actually adds creativity to her repertoire as she finds clean, sustainable substitutes.

Caterpillar Roll
Carol Blonder
Caterpillar Roll
These days, Van Kort wields her Shun Yanagiba knife at private cooking classes and parties for sushi lovers. A recent lesson included three sauces, Salmon Skin Hand Roll, Desert Flower Roll, Tempura Fried Vegas Roll, and her Big "O" Crab Roll. The highlight? Van Kort arrived with her house brined fish roe and ginger sake. Roll on, sushi lovers. 
  Interested in a private lesson or a sushi party? Contact Melanie at

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