Within Our Borders: Stasia’s Sushi’s Anastasia King
by Lou-Ann Jordan Jun 20, 2022
Cooking is an art!
Like a painter, armed with a palette of ingredients, and a plate, the canvas, a chef must create fare that balances colours, textures and nutrients.
More than throwing together ingredients, it involves masterful mixing and blending. It’s a skill that is not easily acquired. It requires dedication and practice, even for those who seem divinely gifted.
Anastasia King has been so endowed. Still, even with her natural gift, her passion for cooking drives her to work hard to improve her craft. The steady growth of her catering business is proof her dedication is paying off.
Initially employed full-time and catering on the side, she managed her solopreneur venture quite well, becoming a familiar name. However, the pandemic and resulting downsizing brought change and not all bad.
Interestingly, it has worked to further launch Anastasia’s catering service into the public’s minds, hearts, and stomachs. An ever-increasing clientele with a taste for Japanese cuisine has led to her establishing Stasia’s Sushi. The new endeavour was birthed as a response to the weekend clamour for her tasty sushi bites.
Proclaiming to be a self-taught chef, Anastasia chatted with Yello about how she’s taken this traditional role and made it into something we haven’t experienced before. With her culinary skills ranging from the contemporary Caribbean to exotic international cuisine, Anastasia has found her niche, especially with her homemade sushi rolls.
Read on as Anastasia joins the ranks of our past Within Our Borders guests, Kenroy George, Ulric Weekes and Classix Republic. With each presenting something unique in their field of interest, she has come to add her flavour.
How long have you been cooking?
I have been cooking for as long as I can remember. I began experimenting with different ingredients from our kitchen garden at a very young age.
Why do you refer to yourself as a self-taught chef?
When I use the term “self-taught”, it is based on not having received formal culinary training. I taught myself to cook through trial and testing as I attempted dishes I came across. Basically, I’m inspired to create when I see food I like.
What made you first interested in cooking and later in catering?
Initially, when I started cooking, it was driven by financial limitations. To put it simply, I had ‘champagne taste with a mauby budget’. As time went by, my motivation transitioned to curiosity and a desire to expand my culinary repertoire.
An additional motivator was the positive feedback I received from family and friends. My then friend and now husband is the person that made me seriously consider starting my business. He enjoyed my cooking with such enthusiasm; he made me feel like I was the best cook on the planet.
Those things added to my confidence, and when the opportunity arose for me to cater a church event, I grabbed it, and its execution was the springboard for my catering business.
What is your signature dish? What do people love about it?
That’s a hard one. Pressed to choose, I would consider my signature dish to be my seafood alfredo. The feedback I’ve received from customers is that the spicy, creamy alfredo sauce combined with the seafood is absolutely divine.
What is your favourite or least favourite dish to prepare?
One dish instantly comes to mind. Cringe! Funny enough, I have not made it in over two years. Hands down, my least favourite thing to prepare is the Phoenix roll. It’s not exactly a ‘dish’, but I dislike making it, primarily because of the tempura veggies that have to be prepared.
When catering, what types of cuisine do you prepare?
I prepare a wide selection of food for catering, and it’s usually based on my clients’ requests. If I had to narrow them down, the most popular foods requested would be pastas, wings, and sushi.
What type of events do you cater?
I cater all events, including weddings, meetings, training sessions/workshops, and parties.
How did the pandemic and resulting lockdown in 2020 impact your catering business?
The pandemic affected the ‘events’ part of my business with its lockdowns and curfews. However, Stasia’s Sushi has flourished.
Please share about Stasia’s Sushi. What types of rolls are offered?
Stasia’s Sushi is a delicious harmony of two countries, Trinidad and Tobago and Japan. I take classic Japanese rolls and make them my own by introducing local spices and flavours. Currently, I only offer cooked rolls as there isn’t a demand for sashimi or nigiri.
How do customers go about placing Sushi orders?
Orders are placed through my Instagram page @ Stasia_Sushi
What’s your favourite type of cuisine to eat?
I go through different phases like Italian, Chinese or Indian. However, for the present, it’s Thai. Specifically, it’s a Thai shrimp and bean-thread noodle soup that I make. It is delicious!
What is one thing that has surprised you since embarking on your solopreneur venture?
If I’m completely honest, I was and still am very surprised by how much people love my sushi rolls and the demand for them.
Owning a business has moments of incredible victories, and it also has its challenges. What keeps you grounded through it all.
I have not reached self-actualisation, and I may never, so it’s very easy to remain grounded when you feel like you have a long way to go. Essentially, that’s what keeps me determined and driven.
What is one bit of advice that you’ve held on to over the years that continues to inspire you?
It’s not necessarily advice but a phrase “Go hard or go home!” When I am tired, frustrated, and unmotivated, I tell myself, “Go hard or go home!”
What happens when you mix international cuisine with Caribbean flavours? Well, if your self-taught chef and caterer, Anastasia King, you create deliciously distinctive dishes. Anastasia has taken this traditional role and revamped it, creating exciting and exotic options like her much-loved sushi rolls.
There is much going on within our borders, and we’re excited about discovering and featuring them. Be on the lookout for our next issue of Within our Borders, and if you know someone who’s making waves, be sure to drop us a message on Facebook or IG.