Tomoharu Nakamura Defends His SushiMasters Title and Wins

Photo: California Rice Commission

California State sushi champion Tomoharu Nakamura of San Francisco’s Sanraku Four Seasons swept Sunday’s SushiMasters competition, winning gold medals in both categories and “best of show” overall, earning the national title of SushiMasters champion. We’d taken a hard look at the candidates last week and though Saulsalito-based Sushi Ran’s chef Hyun Min Suh was a promising warrior, we are not surprised his Earth Roll tasted defeat at the hands of Nakamura, who sprinkled gold dust, pine needles, and three different kinds of rice into a medley of fish cuts for his signature roll that looked a little like a Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

The sold out event of 600 spectators saw Nakamura crush strong competitors like Randy Noprapa, who used foie gras in his roll, or Min Suh, who displayed a colorful creation employing sake and cream cheese. As Nakamura emerges as 2009’s National SushiMasters winner, we look forward to a 2010 competition open to more U.S. cities. While we wait, explore the ingredients that lead chef Nakamura to a gold-medal win for his signature Autumn Harvest roll, pictured above.

Signature Roll - Harvest Celebration


Maguro, (Tuna)

Sake, (Salmon)

Hotategai, (Scallop)



Spanish Mackerel


Seafood Garnish

Ikura, (Salmon Roe)

Tobiko, (Flying fish roe)

Other Key Ingredients

Egg & Ohba, (Large Leaf Perilla)

Daikon, (Japanese radish)

Myoga, Onion & Carrot

Edamame & Shimeji, (variety of Japanese mushroom)


Ginkgo nut, Chive, & Gold dust

Lentil, Tomato

Buckwheat, Shiitake

Cucumber, Chestnut

Sweet Potato, Endive

Denbu, Beefsteak plant ear

Pine Needles, Fall foliage

Rhubarb, Somen Noodle

Gari, (Pickled Ginger)

Wasabi, Chinese Lantern


Spicy Mayo, Wasabi sauce

Soy sauce, Ginger Miso sauce

California Rice

Hitomebore, super premium short grain rice

Calrose, brown, medium grain rice

Wild rice

Tomoharu Nakamura Defends His SushiMasters Title and Wins