Marisa

About Marisa

me-holding-salmon.jpgMarisa Baggett’s passion for food led her to an early career in culinary arts. At the age of 22, she opened The Chocolate Giraffe, a restaurant and catering company in her hometown of Starkville, MS that specialized in Southern fare with a global twist as well as provided desserts for special occasions. One year later, Baggett expanded with The Chocolate Giraffe Coffeehouse. But it was the special request of a dinner party client that Baggett’s passion for food would truly be expanded. Due to a lack of nearby sushi bars, Baggett was asked to host a sushi dinner. She accepted the challenge and soon became fascinated by the art. Her fascination prompted her to add sushi to her regular menu at the restaurant and it became a quick hit.

Baggett soon realized that she wanted to pursue becoming a sushi chef. Though it was a difficult decision, she chose to close The Chocolate Giraffe and The Chocolate Giraffe Coffeehouse to leave Starkville in pursuit of her dream. Before heading off to California, Baggett made a culinary pit stop in Memphis, TN and worked as a pastry cook at Tsunami Restaurant. Surrounded by the fresh abundance of seafood and the Asian-inspired cuisine of Chef Ben Smith, her dream of becoming a sushi chef intensified. She left her position at Tsunami and enrolled in the professional sushi chef program at the California Sushi Academy.

At the California Sushi Academy, Baggett studied the delicate arts of sashimi, nigiri-zushi, makimono, and kaiseki under the critical eyes of restaurateur, sushi master and sake sommelier Toshi Sugiura as well as respected sushi master Nobuo Kishimoto. In addition to classroom time, Baggett assisted with recreational sushi classes, helped cater sushi for high profile Los Angeles events and spent time observing as well as assisting head sushi chefs in Venice Beach and Hermosa Beach. Upon completing her training, Baggett became the first African American female graduate of the school.

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Baggett returned to the South and shared her knowledge of sushi with Memphians as the sushi chef of Do Sushi Bar and Lounge. During her time there, Baggett gained local, national and international recognition for her Southern twist on sushi. After three years, Baggett decided to leave Do Sushi and focus on sharing the art of sushi as a traveling itamae, teaching sushi classes at various gourmet food markets and private homes, creating “tsushi” for  Tsunami Restaurant in Memphis, TN.

Currently, Baggett is a freelance writer, sushi consultant, sushi event chef, and an advocate for sustainable seafood use for sushi. Her first book, Sushi Secrets: Easy Recipes for the Home Cook, can be purchased from on-line booksellers or in bookstores.

Comments

7 Responses to “About Marisa”

  1. alison fritzius on June 30th, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    what’s up, lady?? got your web address from vickie on facebook. wow…looks like you’re doing very well for yourself! how are you??

    alison

  2. Emily on August 13th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Marisa,
    What a great story! We’re having a wild boar recipe contest open only to foodservice professionals and we’d love to have you enter a recipe … maybe even one for wild boar sushi!? Talk about fushion.

  3. Kumiko on August 30th, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Your site looks so interesting, I like reading your story and seeing the pictures.

  4. beverly on September 19th, 2008 at 10:45 am

    thank you for sharing this info on making sushi at home. i’ve made it at home several times, but the results were not very pretty…they tasted good though. i read through your instructions and saw where i had made some rookie mistakes and know what to do next time. and how jealous am i that you got to go to a sushi academyl!! :)

  5. Dorian on October 3rd, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I came across your website on facebook. Me and my bf LOVE sushi though we don’t eat it as much as we would like at the moment. I saw the pics of kids making sushi rolls on your page. Absolutely devine work you’re doing.

    Dorian

  6. Demont Simpson on October 9th, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Hey Marisa,

    It’s a blast from your past… I’m so proud of you!!!! I always knew that you would be very successful.. I’m so glad you pursued your dream and ditched engineering. No worries, I’m still holding it down on the technical end. Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’m a rocket scientist. How boring huh.

    Don’t forget about all the little people from your home town… ;)

  7. SVITLANA MCKEE on June 10th, 2011 at 12:45 am

    DEAR MARISA! I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE ACCIDENTALLY – WAS LOOKING FOR SOME SUSHI RECIPES. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE RECIPES AND ESPECIALLY THE VIDEOS. GREAT TIPS ABOUT CUTTING SUSHI TOO. HOPE YOUR CARRIER AS A SUSHI GURU IS BLOOMING. BEST WISHES, YOUR UKRAINIAN ADMIRER LANA.

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