Chef Masaharu Morimoto has created a bridge between the culinary traditions of his native Japan and the American palate, bringing intense excitement, exquisite technique, and perfectly balanced flavors to thousands of diners throughout the world. He has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients and has effectively created a signature style that positions him as one of today’s foremost chefs.
After a shoulder injury ended a promising career as a baseball catcher in Japan, Morimoto began studying sushi in his hometown of Hiroshima. He quickly grasped the technique of this exacting food art and, at age 24, opened his first restaurant. Five years later, he moved to America to expand his culinary repertoire and explore the opportunities and possibilities he saw for a cuisine that would combine the best of both cultures.
In 1994, Morimoto was recruited to join the original Nobu restaurant and soon promoted to executive chef, and in 2001, he opened his first eponymous restaurant in Philadelphia. He debuted Wasabi by Morimoto at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai in 2004, followed by a second Wasabi at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi in 2008. The much anticipated flagship restaurant Morimoto New York opened in 2006. Morimoto has received numerous accolades for his cuisine and aesthetic, including several appearances on San Pellegrino’s “Top 100 Restaurants in the World” list, a James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Restaurant Design” for Morimoto New York, and Food & Wine magazine’s “Best U.S. Restaurant Openings” for Morimoto Napa in 2010. Today, there are additional restaurants: Morimoto Sushi Bar in Boca Raton, Morimoto Waikiki, Morimoto Mexico City, Skewers by Morimoto at LAX, Morimoto Maui, Japonais by Morimoto in Chicago, and Morimoto South Beach. Morimoto Las Vegas will open in 2015.
Chef Morimoto first competed on the Japanese television show Iron Chef in 1998 and then became one of the stars of Food Network’s Iron Chef America in 2004. As Iron Chef, Morimoto was able to showcase his flawless technique and creativity with unique ingredients in front of millions of Americans. His first cookbook, “Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking,” won two International Association of Culinary Professionals awards, including the Julia Child Award for Best First Book.
Beyond his culinary genius and the exquisite design of both his food and restaurants, Chef Morimoto’s business acumen has helped him succeed in two related industries. Morimoto Signature Series of beer was launched in 2003 in partnership with Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon, and his legendary knife skills led him to create a line of knives crafted by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, merging authentic Japanese blade styles with western inspired ergonomics and materials.