Masaharu Morimoto is one of the most respected chefs in the world. The star of ‘Iron Chef’ has become beloved for his ability to take foods from his native Japan and pair them with western flavors to create unique taste experiences. He has restaurants all over the world, has made countless television appearances, and even owns his own sake company.
He made time this week to answer a few questions for Uproxx about his sake, all the ramen he ate last year, and his distaste for chasing trends.
Tell us about your sake.
My sake is crafted in Ishikawa Prefecture. The reason breweries have settled in that region is mostly due to the water, we call it Hiyakunansui — which translates to “blessed water.” In this case, it refers to the water’s trajectory of one hundred years from Mt. Hakkusan to the brewery wells adding texture and a compelling minerality.
What was the inspiration behind starting your own sake brand?
At that time, having your own wine brand was already quite commonly done, but no one really had his/her own sake brand yet. So I thought it would be a good business opportunity for me. And also I just like to put my name on things.
Can you tell us the proper way to drink sake?
You’ll hear of a couple ways to drink sake — hot, cold, room temperature — the right answer is depending on the sake. When you have a premium sake, meaning higher polishing and finesse, you want to keep it in the colder side — 52 degrees F and colder to preserve the amazing qualities.
What did you eat in 2016 that you were really excited about?
Ramen, in general. For my opening of Momosan Ramen in NYC, I tried and tasted many different bowls of ramen from many different places around the U.S. and Japan. I took in a lot of calories by doing so, but at the same time, I gained much knowledge and understanding about the dish.
What food trends will you be glad to see disappear in 2017?
I don’t really care about trends. I neither follow nor deny them. However, it would be nice to see a trend that is not transient but stays with us.
If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anything my wife prepares for me. I don’t cook at home at all. Her menu has become more and more vegetarian so I do miss meaty foods after a long night of cooking sometimes. But I basically eat anything.
What are you seeing in the culinary world that excites you?
It makes me very happy to see the culinary cross-over that is happening all over the world. Just like many other cultural elements, food travels from its birthplace to another part of the world. Then it evolves and intermixes with those other foods that have also traveled from somewhere else. There are elements that each culture’s food can learn from another’s. Once tastes, traditions, and ingredients are understood, that is what gives us the ability to put two different flavor profiles together and create enjoyable new dishes.