By about the fifth glass of sake, John Hoffmann knew he was on to something. Indeed, it was on that life-changing night back in 2011, that the executive chef and owner of Toronto’s Roll This Way Sushi had a rice wine-inspired Eureka moment.
At that point Hoffmann was an aspiring musician working hard to make his mark on California’s vibrant rock scene. It wasn’t going according to plan. Then opportunity struck when a musician friend who shared Hoffmann’s passion for cooking (neither were professionals at the time), invited him to a dinner party where the friend’s father, a sushi chef, was planning to work a little sashimi-and-wasabi magic.
Free food, delicious sushi, great friends—it was music to an aspiring artist’s ears. Turns out the evening would also set the stage for impressive entrepreneurial endeavours to come.
The chef not only prepared a mouth-watering array of rolls, but taught the partygoers some of this trade secrets. Guests had the chance to customize their own seafood-based creation by hand. Hoffmann was floored by the delicious potential of dining on the freshest fish made with the finest ingredients by an expert chef, not to mention the experiential possibilities of turning sushi preparation into culinary theatre.
He returned to Canada a year later determined to find a way to bring his sushi show to the masses. A lucky break arrived when Hoffmann was bartending and taking culinary courses at George Brown College in Toronto–a friend in the industry offered him a position as a sushi chef, which he quickly accepted. Hoffmann spent a year learning on the job before founding Roll This Way. He hasn’t looked back since, growing the company with equal parts excellence, a genuine approach and an unwavering attention to detail that keeps clients coming back for more.
“From the moment we talk to the client we’re very casual, down to earth and we’re sure to pay close attention to their individual needs so we can create a great bond with them,” Hoffmann says. “We just want to ‘wow’ them with an amazing food experience.”
It’s fair to say that we were more than impressed when we first met the team at Roll This Way, instantly falling in love with their modern, exciting sushi menus and unbounded creativity. Roll This Way has since become our partner of choice whenever an event calls for some fresh and tasty sushi flare (and maybe even a bit of hands-on instruction).
True to their experiential roots, Roll This Way not only serves up sushi goodness, but will also provide party-goers with a how-to on preparing a basic maki roll. It’s a great way to get guests engaged during an event, while giving them a skill they can later apply at home.
Turns out Andrew Ross was also floored by Hoffmann’s culinary talents when the duo met at a Roll This Way-catered party back in 2014. Ross, who was working in sales at the time, lacked any food industry experience, but knew he wanted to be involved with the burgeoning company. The two would eventually partner up, combining Ross’ business bona fides with Hoffmann’s sushi smarts.
“John has done a great job building relationships with clients and building a strong reputation, then having me come in to help push that and create more exposure has really helped us grow,” Ross explains.
“We’re the only caterer that presents sushi the way we do.”
We couldn’t agree more. Part of the fun of a Roll This Way catering experience is to sit back and watch the awestruck look on guests’ faces as they sample delicacies such as their Red Fire Dragon Roll (a lobster California roll topped with torched salmon, spicy kewpie, unagi sauce and scallions), The Winner (candied maple pork belly, bay scallop, lobster California roll with unagi drizzle) or The Lady In White (tuna, salmon, avocado, cucumber and hotate), to name just a few of their most popular choices.
Because their menu changes regularly, no two events are exactly the same. That adds to the spontaneity and excitement that Roll This Way brings to the table. Most importantly, they’re always sure to keep their offerings fresh and focused to ensure the very best quality.
“One of the thing that irks us about some sushi restaurants is when they have a 300-item menu, but don’t do any of the dishes really well,” Ross laments.
Doing sushi the right way—whether for an office party of five people or a 100-person wedding—is not only about innovating with a mix of traditional and fusion sushi recipes, but also ensuring that every single ingredient they serve is of the highest standard.
“We don’t cut corners with our ingredients, everything is bought the day of the event and prepared the morning of,” Hoffmann explains. “No one can beat us on the quality of the ingredients we provide. We take so much pride in that.”
And when it comes time for our team to partner with Roll This Way to bring a unique event to life, we always know they’ll come equipped with their edgy ingenuity, friendly service and funky attitude, putting our clients at the centre of an inspired sushi spectacle.
Maybe John and Andrew should indulge in another long, sake-fuelled evening of culinary creativity. Who knows what amazing food experiences they’d come up with next!
Fia Pagnello, Founder and CEO
Contact us now to book a sushi experience for your next event!