The 'father of sushi' rules kitchen at the Japanese Pavilion

The Japanese Pavilion has lured one of the city's first and best sushi chefs to run its kitchen.

Sadao Ohno comes out of retirement for Folklorama

Chef Sadao Ohno enjoys presiding over the kitchen at the Japanese Pavilion (Sandra Shibata)

The Japanese Pavilion at Folklorama has lured one of the city's first and best sushi chefs to run its kitchen.

The "father of sushi" in Winnipeg, Sadao Ohno, who presided over the sushi counter at at his beloved Edohei restaurant for 24 years, will lead a team to slice, dice, roll, cut and pack sushi for thousands of hungry patrons.

The theme of this year's pavilion is Natsu Matsuri, a Japanese summer festival celebration, so delectables tend towards street food and snacks. Offerings include a variety of sushi (no raw fish), a Matsuri Dog (a Japanese take on the hot dog, garnished with fried noodles and three types of mushrooms), Japanese curry, Oriental salad, edamame and yakitori (teriyaki chicken skewers).​

Ohno will also be giving sushi demonstrations at the pavilion. He says now that his restaurant is closed he is happy to help the Japanese community in Winnipeg. 

"We're very lucky!" said Caroline Yamashita, co-coordinator and food chair of the pavilion.

"He's really good at getting everything ready, knowing what we should be doing and giving us ideas."

She says he's incredible to watch. "He goes great guns, because he goes from making the sushi to doing something else in the kitchen and then back to the sushi, he's very busy."

They feel it's a great honour to have someone of his stature leading the team.

"It's quite amazing that he can help out like that because he has so much expertise. He's so good with the sushi-making and giving us his knowledge and experience as well as suggesting different menu items," she said.
Hinode Taiko drumming group perform at the Japanese Pavilion (Dr. Tse Li Luk)

Aside from the food, the pavilion boasts an exciting lineup of performers, including the drum group Hinode Taiko, koto players (koto is a harp-like instrument), martial arts demonstrations (kendo, karate and judo) and dancers.

The Japanese Pavilion is located at St. Joseph's Hall, 515 College Ave. Doors open Aug. 3 at 6:00.