Lunch with THE Iron Chef Morimoto
So I am sitting in a dim sum restaurant with Masaharu Morimoto, THE Iron Chef and one of the most talented and expert chefs in the world. I love this guy. We have just come from shooting an episode of my show in which he was kind enough to participate. You will have to tune into it on Tuesday night to see how superbly he handles himself and the engaging foods he serves me. He’s bold, smart, creative and funny beyond belief.
Anyway, we are sitting, eating lunch. I over-order. He is on the phone a lot dealing with a handful of restaurant openings on the west coast. We are having a blast. People are freaking out that we are sitting together, alone, eating lunch. Course after course arrives, gaggles of fans line up for photos with us, we are trying to eat and keep people happy at same time. It never works.
We chat about the nature of restaurant food (everyone orders the same shit) , ‘real’ Japanese cookery and why Americans eat so little of it (too intimidating and not ‘fancy’ enough), and the irony that despite his efforts to get people to eat something other than sushi, that’s all people want to eat. After a few courses he slows down. He seems discomfited. He nibbles. He stops eating some courses altogether. I am beside myself, something’s wrong. I have messed up something somewhere. What do I say? The eel course arrives, the one thing he insisted we try. He won’t touch it. so finally I ask my new friend, as I nod toward his chopsticks, at rest on his plate, “Dude, is everything alright?”
That’s when he pushes his chair back and pulls on his thick stiff silken belting that his robes are held up with… “this belt and robe good for standing and cooking, not good for eating…too tight!” I am laughing my @$$ off. He gets up, hits the mens room, loosens up, comes back and we rejoice. Stuffing ourselves and running out of the restaurant (after paying check of course) just like the Beatles in the movie Help! Fans chase us down the street to our car as we dive in and race off, with his sous chef cracking up in the back seat, caroming across town, back to work.
Morimoto is the best, you will love his star turn on Bizarre Foods: Pennsylvania– this Tues., Jan 25 @ 9pm E/P on Travel Channel.