Meeting Chef Morimoto today was serendipitous. I was just coming out of the high tech Japanese bathroom of a high-end restaurant named after him when a handsome guy from the bar called our attention and asked casually if we were visiting. Smiling my very best and fully refreshed from using the Japanese toilet (that has the option to wash the front and rear after each use), I went straight to the bar ready for a quick ‘pretend- tourist’ chat. But before I can even answer his follow-up question was, “Would you like to meet The Chef?” As he said the line his arm was directed to a man gloriously clad in all white from shades to sandals. He looked Japanese but I didn’t recognize him yet. When he finally spoke he said, “Are you from Manila?”. I said, “No, I live here, but I used to be.” Kamy, the teenager with me butted in, in an obviously star-trucked manner, “Are you really The Chef?” The man humbly said yes and we all shook his hand trying so hard to conceal our excitement. We chatted more, then he offered us his new line of sake. The bartender even joked about checking our birth dates to verify if we were all over 21. Even if I really didn’t want to drink, I couldn’t say no to Morimoto. I took the big shot glass, slowly sipped its contents then gave the other guy the camera to take a picture of us and SNAP! Here’s the picture with the Iron Chef.
The sake was bittersweet and smooth, the type that didn’t ferment too long. I mentioned that I also ferment my own rice wine. He smiled and looked surprised. By then I guessed that they were probably conducting an impromptu survey to see how consumers, particularly women, will warm up to Morimoto’s new line of sake that his company plans to roll out to liquor stores soon. Then one of the guys told us that Morimoto will soon get ready for the taping of the newest season of the Iron Chef. (I should have asked to be part of the studio audience. Darn!) That was our cue so we said our goodbye, wished him well and left the man and his sake sitting quietly at his very own immaculately white bar.
The Iron Chef show is filmed at the Food Network studio located at the 2nd floor of Chelsea Market in New York’s Meatpacking District.