IamA sushi chef with over 25 years of experience. I invented the Caterpillar Roll, a staple found in most sushi bars. My name is Michelle Carpenter and I am a female Itamae and the owner of ZEN Sushi. AMA!
I'm Michelle Carpenter and I am (a very rare) female Itamae (sushi chef). I have been making sushi for 25 years. Also, my staff is really proud of the fact that I invented the Caterpillar Roll.
I own and operate ZEN Sushi, a modern Japanese restaurant in Dallas, Texas and we are celebrating our 6 Year Anniversary this weekend.
Ask me Anything, and BTW, one horse-sized duck, although I've been bitten pretty badly by a duck-sized duck.
*EDIT: Per request, here is a photo of me: https://twitter.com/ZENSUSHI/status/365234405603672065 This is a photo of my best-selling Xalapa Roll, a creation that best exemplifies my biography and culinary style.
*EDIT #2: My restaurant is now open. I have to step away to make sushi. I'll be back tonight.
*EDIT #3: Redditors, Thank you for your enthusiasm and participation. We never expected to make front page or even have over 100 comments for the entire post when we started this.
ZEN is a tiny 60-seat establishment. We’re underdogs compared to the competition (which is fierce in landlocked but restaurant-dense Dallas, Texas), and we’ve made it to 6 years because I have an incredibly loyal kitchen staff and servers who believe in my mission.
I owe this Reddit AMA to my BIL who asked me to do it for his late birthday present. I did this because I wanted to make sure that other young women know that becoming an Itamae is something they can achieve even if it was a very difficult path.
Finally, I want to reiterate my thanks to my customers.
UPDATE 8/15/13: A Reddit Roll with Bacon has been made, per your request.