Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Japonais - Biography

Chicago, IL

August 2014

Masaharu Morimoto, known to millions of television viewers as a star of “Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America,” is as comfortable cooking against the clock for a live audience as he is preparing his signature omakase menu at his namesake restaurants. But no matter the circumstances, Morimoto’s inspired, innovative dishes have garnered critical and popular acclaim. Through the seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients, Morimoto has effectively created his own, idiosyncratic, unforgettable cuisine—an unexpected result for a kid who wanted to be a baseball player.

After moving to America, Morimoto opened his first Morimoto outpost in Philadelphia. But Morimoto wasn’t just looking to make an impression in the States; his ambitions were global. In 2004, Wasabi by Morimoto opened to great acclaim at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India, followed in 2005 by Morimoto-XEX in Tokyo. In January 2006, Morimoto brought his eponymous restaurant to New York City. The stunning space, designed by Tadao Ando and located in the city’s west side Warehouse District, was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for “Outstanding Restaurant Design” in 2007 and 2008.

Morimoto New York earned early and deserved acclaim from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Zagat, and New York Magazine, among many others. And the chef’s first cookbook, Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking, published in 2007, won two awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and solidified both his style and role as a leader in the expansion of modern Japanese cuisine. Meanwhile, the chef continues the graceful expansion of his empire with Morimoto Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii, and his recent assumption of the helm of Japonais in Chicago.