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It seems as though professional chef Masaharu Morimoto captivated us all during his first TV appearance on the Japanese cooking show, Iron Chef, and again on the spinoff Iron Chef American. It was during this time that his unique style of cooking, pulling from multiple cultural influences, really came to light and took the world by storm. But that was only the beginning of this chef’s journey through the culinary industry. Now, thanks to chef’s like Morimoto, the culinary world is full of blended traditions and cooking styles to create one of a kind dishes unique to each chef.
An Early Career in Cooking
Born in Hiroshima, Japan, young Masaharu Morimoto had the privilege of receiving quality training in both Sushi and Kaiseki, which involves a traditional multi-course dinner prepared with specific techniques. Check this page if you want to learn how to make sushi at home In 1980, Morimoto decided to jump full force into the restaurant industry by opening his very first restaurant in Hiroshima which specialized in Japanese cuisine. While this eponymous flagship restaurant was all the rage and quickly gained popularity amongst the locals, Morimoto couldn’t help but be pulled in the direction of American cooking techniques.
It was around this time that aspiring chef Morimoto planned a trip to the United States. He traveled around the U.S. trying different foods, traditions, and cooking styles. What he discovered was a whole new world of food creation opportunity right in front of him and a chance to re-define his own cooking styles. He soon developed a new American-Japanese fusion style that pulled influences from American cooking techniques and Japanese flavors.
In 1985, Morimoto sold his first restaurant in Hiroshima, packed up everything he owned, and set out to pursue his dream in New York city. Masaharu Morimoto had the opportunity to work for some of the most prestigious restaurants in the city including Nobu – a highly exclusive Japanese restaurant in New York. After a few years, Morimoto was eventually promoted to executive chef over the Nobu restaurant.
His First Stateside Restaurant
After a few years gaining experience at Nobu, Morimoto decided it was time to jump back into restaurant ownership himself. He made the decision to leave Nobu and pair up with Starr Restaurants to create his own high end Japanese-American fusion restaurant in Philadelphia. The restaurant opened its doors in 2001 and has been fully booked ever since. Chef Morimoto restaurants feature Western cooking styles that blend perfectly with ancient Japanese influences to give guests the full authentic Japanese dining experience with superb presentation finished off with an American twist.
As the restaurant quickly gained acclimations and popularity, he decided to expand the Morimoto name into other opportunities. Now, chef Masaharu Morimoto owns fifteen restaurants around the world and had plans to open even more in the future. With restaurants popping up in places like Maui, Doha, Mexico City, Tokyo, Mumbai, and more, Morimoto continues to expand his unique food creations to every part of the world.
Highly Awarded Career as a Chef
Aside from his handful of Iron Chef and other TV appearance, infamous cookbooks, and even his own professional Knife set, Morimoto has also earned himself quite a few awards from the culinary industry. In fact, his Morimoto restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, named Morimoto XEX, was the his first restaurant to receive a Michelin star in 2008. But the success didn’t stop there. He was also awarded a James Beard Foundation award for ‘Outstanding Restaurnt Design’, Food & Wine Magazine’s ‘Best U.S. Restaurant Openings’ , and San Pellegrino’s ‘Top 100 Restaurants in the World’. As celebrity chef, Masaharu Morimoto continues to gain popularity, and quite a hungry fanbase, we can be sure to see more awards in this chef’s bright future.
Aside from his brilliant food creations and stunning restaurant designs, chef Morimoto has had quite the impact on the culinary world thanks to his unique blend of cooking styles. He is the epitome of fine dining and works hard to build other up and coming chefs. As he continues to do what he does best and by encouraging, teaching, and inspiring others, he not only pushes the boundaries of what is possible in culinary, but helps others do the same.