episode 57 :: sushi revolution

Face it, no one really needs me to talk about sushi. It’s been done to death, and I’m not the one to bring anything new. But I finally got a chance to experience kaiten-zushi (sushi served on a rotating conveyer belt) and it was not only one of the most entertaining sushi experiences I’ve had, but it provided a few dishes I won’t soon forget.

Sushilicious recently opened in Irvine (less than 3 miles from my home), and it’s unique in may ways. Not only is it one of the few sushi restaurants that provides a kaiten-zushi experience, its owner Daniel has marketed Sushilicious primarily using Social Media. That’s a first for Orange County, so far as I can tell.

Oh, and by the way, the sushi is delicious.

listen to episode 57

In this episode:
• Allagash Fluxus 2009
• Kaiten-Zushi experience at Sushilicious
• Future Food on Planet Green – great idea, wrong message
• Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC – great idea, right message
• The heyday of the LA Times Food Section Gals

Music in this episode from Thousand Foot Krutch. Download the song from the iTunes Store or better yet, from their web site thousandfootkrutch.com


  1. Phil, I appreciate your enthusiasm for Jamie Oliver’s show, but I don’t buy what he’s trying to do. I watched bits and pieces of it, but found it preachy, boring, and it seemed to me he had an awful lot of self congratulatory “look at me” sort of attitude going on, how the show was such a sacrifice for him and how noble he is for making the personal sacrifice to make the show.

    A bit like Gordon Ramsy and his hells Kitchen but more political.

    • Hey Bill

      Seems to be quite a bit of people who feel like you do about Oliver’s show. While I think some of it is a bit “Made for TV” it’s still a strong message, and I’m glad he’s decided to do this.

  2. Great intro Phil. Loved the music again too.

    I found Jamie’s ABC show interesting, but I don’t think he’s going to be any more successful at this than Alice Waters has been. She’s been doing this for decades with little impact on school meals outside of her local area. No changes in legislation either, and the same thing has happened in the UK. But I credit them both for trying.

    Sushilicious sounds great. I have seen places like this before on a few travel shows, but only sushi bars and japanese restaurants serving traditional sushi where I’ve been.

    • Hey Lamda – good points about Alice Waters. I think it’s safe to say that any attempt at making a change is a good thing though, right? I too credit anyone for trying. It’s a lot easier to just sit on your ass and do nothing.

    • @Lamda:

      This “competition” isn’t even close. Jamie Oliver’s message EASILY has been more effective than Alice Waters, simply by the number of people who get network tv for free.

      Whether or not his show is “scripted” (and just about all reality programming is), I think OIiver’s heart really is in the right place, and the truth of the matter is that most people in America couldn’t tell you who Alice Waters is (or they might tell you she wrote “The Color Purple.”), but just by the nature of network tv, Jamie has spread his gospel to more people by factors of thousands, if not tens of thousands.

      And who could really fault the guy, anyway? I understand people getting upset at some shows (like mine, for instance), just because they didn’t understand their point of view, but how can anyone possibly not get behind a guy who wants American kids (and adults) to eat better?

  3. It bugs me when all pizza is brushed with the same “unhealthy crap” stroke. Granted, whatever frozen crud those kids in Huntington are being given for breakfast is probably horrible but pizzas can be many things, including light and healthy. To generalize all pizza as being equivalent to frozen pizza or chain delivery is very wrong.
    I haven’t seen the show but the audio clip of Jamie’s outrage over pizza for breakfast got under my skin. He should be more specific; you can have a perfectly healthy and delicious pizza for breakfast. It would be like putting all meat under the same umbrella, as in, “I can’t believe they are having meat for breakfast.” That could be a microwave burger from 7/11 or it could be a filet mignon. It’s the same with pizza.
    Sorry for the rant, I take pizza seriously.

    • Hey Bill – you can feel free to rant here anytime man. That’s what the show is all about. He did manage to slam pizza as being unhealthy, and you’re absolutely right that it’s not an unhealthy food (if prepared correctly). That frozen crap they’re feeding those kids didn’t look that great, though. But with the amount of back talk those “cooks” were giving him for making him cook fresh every day, can you imagine what kind of a battle he’d get if he asked them to make fresh pizza? Holy crap, there would be a mob scene. 🙂

      Thanks for listening, and for your comments. Would love to hear more about pizza from you in the future. Have yet to do a pizza show.

  4. There’s one of those conveyor belt sushi places here in downtown L.A in Japan Town. I’ve only been once but when I first saw the dishes going around in a circle I was amused and uncertain. Once we sat down it was the most fun sushi I’ve eaten. The Jamie bit was just scary — it shows how really stupid Americans are, or at least, how stupid corporate food has made us. I say good for him. Hope he has some impact. Another great episode, Phil. And here’s the gals at the LA Times Food Section!

    • See, Charles? I had no idea there were more places like this. Figured there had to be, and figured they’d be in LA too. I loved it, and I was uncertain about nothing other than which plates I’d order first.

      Good points about Jamie’s show. We have become very dumb when it comes to food, and feeding our youth. I too hope this at least gets people thinking. The fact that this is on prime time (on a major network) is HUGE.

      As always, thanks for your comments.

  5. I have never seen a conveyer belt driven sushi bar but it does sound fun. I wonder how much of that Jamie Oliver show is for entertainment purposes, though. He does seem to ham it up for the camera quite a bit. I don’t care for him personally. He talks like he’s got a mouth full of marbles.

    • DV, I agree he’s a bit dramatic. The crying bit at the end of the first episode was too much. I didn’t even want to include it here because it was kind of embarrassing. But again, it’s good that his show is on when it is, on a big network. Better than the alternative — nothing at all.

  6. Sorry, but Jamie Oliver is a wanker. Hamming up for the camera, and that end piece with him sliding into the camera holding out that bowl of noodles, as if he were in some kind of a stage show. Too dramatic, but it’s a good thought.

    Loved the intro BTW. Very funny.

    • Thanks G. Glad you liked the intro. Not sure how much more defending of Jamie Oliver I can do here. Sorry you guys didn’t feel as strongly as I did about it, but you’re all entitled to your opinions.

  7. Phil, loved the show. I’ve had this kind of a sushi experience before, in Washington. It’s definitely one of the most entertaining experiences. We ate quite a bit of sushi that night too.

    I think it’s interesting, what Jamie Oliver is doing. It’s better than doing nothing. You have to give him that.

    Do not get Planet Green, so I’ll be missing out on Future Food.



    • Andy, thank you. I hope I didn’t give the wrong impression about Future Food. I did enjoy the show, I just don’t like the message they were trying to deliver of replacing real foods like tuna with watermelon, disguised to look and taste like tuna. This is one of the reasons why Molecular Gastronomy is becoming hated in the industry.

      There is a certain amount of mind-f**king that goes on with Molecular Gastronomy. You’re served something that looks like tuna, then you taste it and realize it’s watermelon. How cute. That’s fun. But if that watermelon is served to you as “tuna” and somehow you realize it’s really watermelon, and you question why you’re being served this dish instead of tuna, only to be told that the world’s tuna supply is expiring, so this is now taking its place? No way. That’s wrong. We should learn to live without instead.

  8. Not a lot of Jamie Oliver fans commenting here so I thought I’d give it a go. I think if you look at some of Jamie’s other TV projects like “Jamie at Home” for example, you can see that he is very passionate about food. I fully believe that he is sincere in his quest. There is certainly spectacle involved as a result of the producers of the show, but remember that they are trying to produce the next “Extreme Home Makeover” here. I could care less how much spectacle there is, the measage is still being recieved. I hope the show is on the air for a long time….it really is important.
    Thanks Phil….Great show


  9. If we ever got one of those conveyor sushi belts in Pittsburgh I would be in heaven. yinz on the west coast always have the most fun.

    I have to give Jamie credit for what he’s trying to do. I know the area he’s at and change of any sorts is not looked upon kindly. The kids who didnt know how to use utensil shocked me. I think certain parts of his show are a tad exaggerated for TV (did they REALLY not know the difference between a potato/tomato? but as a whole I hope his message gets through to those people. I wasnt a big fan of his prior to the show but after watching most of this season I can say i am now.

  10. Phil,

    I’m with Brian on this. I have always been a fan of Jamie and his passion for good, fresh, simply prepared food. I’m a chef myself and what they feed our children in school is atrocious. It was horrbile when I was in school and it hasn’t gotten any better. What I don’t understand about his nae sayers is the out right negativity. Why is it that people can’t just commend him for trying instead of condeming him to fail? I’m not one to be known as an optimist but I must say as long as you try to make a change, to do the right thing, does it really matter if you don’t succeed? one of my father’s favorate quotes is by Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” There may be lots of glitz, glamor, and pufferry added in because it is after all a network TV show. And, it may be a goliath sized battle but, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting.


    Chef and Parent

  11. Brian and Erin – THANK YOU! I’m with both of you as well. And the outcry against Jamie’s efforts in putting his time into this has me taken aback a little. I can understand if the dramatic stuff makes it seem insincere, but get past that and look at the real events here and we can’t help but to be grateful to him for doing all that he’s doing. We all know that good nutrition starts at home, but shouldn’t a SCHOOL be the place where you LEARN valuable lessons like nutrition and health? I don’t see a sensible argument against that.

    I appreciate that you’re listening, and I very much appreciate your comments.



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