Masaharu Morimoto's 11 Tips for Tuna and Sushi at the New York Culinary Experience

[Photographs: Laura Togut]

Note: Photos show a whole tuna being butchered. Click with caution.

The New York Culinary Experience at the International Culinary Center gives regular people a chance to take cooking classes from some of the country's most respected chefs, who lead hands-on demos of some of their signature dishes.

Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame was one of the headlining celebrity chefs this year, so we jumped at the chance to learn some sushi-making tips from the master himself. He broke down a whole tuna for our learning pleasure, and then took us step-by-step though the process of making first-rate sushi.

The Tips

Preparation: 1: The brighter the color, the fattier the tuna is likely to be. 2: Slice tuna filets in one long, clean stroke with a long knife.

Nigiri: 3: Sushi is supposed to be finger food, so use your hands. 4: Dip sushi fish-side-down into soy sauce so the rice doesn't sog up. 5: Eat your nigiri whole.

Maki (Rolls): 6: Dried sheets of nori have a shiny and dull side. Work dull-side-down for stability. 7: Shape the rice delicately. Don't press down hard. 8: If working from larger cuts of tuna, little scaps and end bits are perfect for maki. 9: Use a bamboo rolling mat after shaping by hand for best results. Don't use the map to shape the roll initially.

Wasabi: 10: If using fresh wasabi, slice it for less heat and grate it for more heat. 11: The fattier the tuna, the more wasabi it can take. And don't mix your wasabi with your soy sauce!

Want more? Take a look through the slideshow for shots of breaking down down a tuna from whole fish to one-bite sushi.