‘Sushi kept following me’ says local sushi chef bringing the art of sushi-making into homes

Sushi chef Don Munoz has been making sushi since he was 19 and recently opened up his own business this last year. Valley News/Courtesy photos

Sushi chef Don Munoz wasn’t quite sure sushi was the path for him when he first started off in the food business.

“I started when I was 19,” Munoz said. “My roommate was at Sushi Camp off 79, he was a server over there and they needed a chef right away because someone had left.”

Munoz ended up trying out for the job and liked it.

“I stayed there for three years,” Munoz said. “I was so young I wasn’t sure if sushi was my calling.

“I left and then went to college and did other stuff, and then during that sushi kept following me,” Munoz said.

Munoz stayed in the business.

KRFTD Sushi offers private dinners and classes. Valley News/Courtesy photo
KRFTD Sushi offers private dinners and classes. Valley News/Courtesy photo
KRFTD Sushi offers private dinners and classes. Valley News/Courtesy photo
KRFTD Sushi offers private dinners and classes. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“At one point I was like why fight fate and just went with it and got good at it,” he said.

Munoz opened KRFTD Sushi in Temecula last year with another co-worker.

“I wanted to figure out a way to expand or do something on my own,” Munoz said, but didn’t think he could start up a restaurant.

“I got the idea from a couple that were talking about wine and paint nights, and then I was like why can’t I do that with sushi?” Munoz said.

He started off with a catering idea, but when it didn’t do well, he came up with doing sushi classes.

“We offer sushi classes, and then just recently with the whole pandemic I started offering the private dinners – sushi dinners as a private chef,” Munoz said.

Munoz was scared to take the jump initially.

“With everybody just staying at home now (due to COVID-19), everybody wants the restaurant to come to them, so I saw the perfect opportunity to bring that to them,” he said.

Classes run between 60-90 minutes, and KRFTD Sushi offers an adult or child class.

“I did do a 12-year-old birthday once with 12 12-year-olds, that was fun,” Munoz said, laughing. “For adults, it runs 90 minutes and I teach them four different things, and I go through all the different types of sushi that you normally see on a menu, so you’re not making the same thing twice.”

The different packages change based on what Munoz makes for the specialty roll.

Don Munoz hosts a private dinner for local Shawna Fuller, her family and some close friends. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“Basically, you walk through the ease of how I kind of learned how to make sushi,” Munoz said. “You start off with a tekka maki roll which is the seaweed on the outside, the rice on the inside, and then I teach them how to do a hand roll, like a California hand roll.

“Then I’ll do a California roll, and then for the premium class we do like a seared tuna roll where you actually get to put fish on top and get to sear the fish yourself, playing with fire is always fun,” Munoz said.

Local Lake Elsinore resident Shawna Fuller chose the private dinner package with KRFTD Sushi at her parent’s home in Menifee, with family and some close friends.

“My family and a few of my friends love sushi, so I thought what a great idea for him to come to the house,” Fuller said. “I listed we like these kinds of rolls; what is the price if I wanted x, y and z, and he was so great in putting together a specific package for what we wanted.”

Fuller said that it was the best sushi she’s had.

“It was so fresh, the flavors, everything was so good,” she said.

“It’s just a fun, new experience – there’s nothing like this here,” Munoz said.

Eventually Munoz said he’d like to have a building, but for now, this format will do.

“You would get L.A. sushi chefs to do it, but it will cost you an arm and a leg,” Munoz said of having a chef come to clients.

“I wanted to provide a service that was affordable, fun, and it really shines a different light on the sushi world,” he said.

For more information on KRFTD Sushi and what they offer, visit https://www.krftdsushi.com/.

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at lhowe@reedermedia.com.