AMHERST – More than 300 volunteers and University of Massachusetts staff and chefs wearing T-shirts proclaiming the future fashioned the longest California roll in history on Monday.
Volunteers wearing T-shirts that read “UMass, Amherst home of the world’s longest California roll” sealed 650 sheets of nori – seaweed – then “glued” it in place with about 200 pounds of sushi rice, then laid on avocado, cucumber and Alaskan crab … and then rolled all of it into a 422-foot long sushi roll, eclipsing the current record of 340 feet set last November at the University of California, Berkeley.
The endeavor that took about 90 minutes “builds a sense of community,” said Jean Kim, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life. And she said, “we’re about making records.”
Chancellor Robert C. Holub, who held a range of positions at Berkeley, said “we are out to take every record from them. We’re going to start with the sushi.” Like all the others, he was clad in the special T-shirt and the striped sushi chef hat.
The event in the horseshoe outside of the Whitmore Administration building drew hundreds of spectators, many with cameras, as well as Wally the Green Monster Red Sox Mascot and Sam the UMass Minuteman mascot.
Food Network chef Jet Tila led the proceedings. Just before work commenced he told the crowd that in order to break the world’s record “you must believe, you must visualize, you must know you can do it.”
Barbara J. Decker was helping with her son Paul R. Decker and her husband Eric A. Decker, a professor in the food science department at UMass. She said, “I couldn’t break any records period. So I want to be a part of breaking the record.” Her husband said, “I’m a big supporter of Ken Toong (director of auxiliary enterprises at UMass).”
Tila said this was the second world record he was going for. He previouly created the world’s largest stir fry by cooking 1,805 pounds of food in one wok.
Sonia Weiss and Daniel S. Abrams, of Marlboro, had stationed themselves to straddle the world record line which they initially thought was 330 feet but later moved to the 340 line, he standing on the old record and she on the line of breaking it.
“This is so cool,” Abrams said. In preparation they watched video on how to roll the sushi.