Iron 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 countless 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. In 2001, Chef Morimoto opened his first restaurant in Philadelphia, followed by restaurants in New York, Napa, Honolulu, Boca Raton, Mumbai, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Maui. Morimoto Asia Orlando at Disney Springs opened in 2015, followed by Momosan Ramen and Sake NYC and Morimoto Las Vegas at MGM Grand in 2016. Morimoto Asia Waikiki, Momosan Waikiki, and Morimoto Doha opened in 2018, Momosan Seattle opened in 2019, and Momosan Wynwood opened in 2020. In September 2021, Chef Morimoto opened Sa’Moto at Doheny Room, a new pan-Asian fine-dining restaurant concept, within West Hollywood’s famed Doheny Room, in partnership with Sam Nazarian, SBE, and Disruptive Restaurant Group. Additionally, in 2021 Morimoto Taghazout Bay, Sa’Moto at Manhattan West, and Momosan at Hub Hall in Boston opened, bringing Chef Morimoto’s global restaurant count to Chef Morimoto currently has 19 restaurants around the world.
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 in 2010, Morimoto Napa was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best U.S. Restaurant Openings.” In 2016, Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs was presented with the “Design Built Award of Merit” by the American Institute of Architects Orlando; and was the Silver Award recipient of the New York Design Awards.
Chef Morimoto first competed on Japanese television show Iron Chef in 1998 and then became one of the stars of Food Network’s Iron Chef America in 1999. As an Iron Chef, Morimoto was able to showcase his flawless technique and creativity with unique ingredients in front of millions of Americans. Chef Morimoto returns to the Iron Chef challenge in the spring of 2017 with Iron Chef Gauntlet.
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. His second cookbook, Mastering The Art of Japanese Home Cooking, was released in November 2016.
Beyond his culinary genius and the exquisite design of both his food and restaurants, Chef Morimoto’s business acumen has helped him succeed in other related industries. Morimoto Signature Series of beer was launched in 2003 in partnership with Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon. Chef Morimoto also has a line of premium sake produced in collaboration with the Fukumitsuya Brewery, a prominent sake brewery in Kanazawa, Japan that was founded in 1625; and in 2018 debuted his signature line of Easy Cup Sake, partnering with Gekkeikan Brewery in Kyoto, Japan that was founded in 1637.
In 2016, Chef added Morimoto grape-seed oil, and Morimoto Cabernet Sauvignon blend produced in collaboration with Michael Mondavi. In 2020, Chef Morimoto further extended his liquor expertise by partnering with Rogue Whiskey to create the three year aged Morimoto Single Malt Whiskey, the first of many collaborations to come between the two brands.
Once COVID-19 hit, Chef Morimoto tapped into the timely need for personal protective equipment and developed his own line of face masks for fans to purchase as well as a fun line of merchandise from t-shirts to baseball caps and a plateware collection by Nikko, featuring dinnerware from his Momosan restaurants. His developed line of products that fans can also enjoy at home include two flavors of Morimoto Miso Soup and three flavors of Momosan Instant Ramen.
In 2021, Chef Morimoto partnered with Grgich Hills Estate to release an exclusive Cabernet Sauvignon label, Morimoto Dream. The wine is a collaboration of vision and passion between a vineyard rich in history and cultivation and a chef famed for blending Japanese and Western cuisine.