If you should find yourself in downtown's Little Tokyo this Sunday afternoon, trolling for zuke maguro or morikomi or hamachi sashimi or iwashi sushi, say, you might do well to stop by the Artani/Japan America Theatre before you down too many cups of sake. There you will find, mid-afternoon, the finals of the 2009 SushiMasters Competition. Four of the country's top sushi chefs and winners of regional competitions--Randy Noprapa of Maneki Neko Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia; Tomoharu Nakamura of San Francisco's Sanraku; Hyun Min Suh of Sushi Ran in Sausalito; and Toshi Furihata of Moshi Moshi Restaurant in Miami Beach--will compete in a sushi-making competition. And after the show, if you're hungry or a little rattled (chefs with very sharp knives can do that), you can calm your nerves at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center's Food and Sake Festival, which begins afterward.
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Judging the event will be Candice Kumai ("The Stiletto Chef") and Brian Malarkey, whom you may remember from Top Chef 's third season. The SushiMasters event is hosted by the JACC, in partnership with the California Rice Commission, which represents the farmers and millers of rice in this state. CRR claims that every piece of sushi in America is made with California-grown rice. California produces 4 billion pounds of the stuff every year, so there's certainly enough of it. Your fish may be flown in, but your rice will be local. Kampai.
SushiMasters Final: Aratani/Japan America Theatre, 244 South San Pedro St., Los Angeles. 2:30 - 6:00 p.m., Sunday, September 20. Here's the link for more information and to purchase tickets, which are $60.