HONOLULU — Masaharu Morimoto, known to millions as the star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, celebrated the first anniversary of Morimoto Waikiki – the most sumptuous, unique and creative restaurant to debut in Waikiki in recent years.
The anniversary party held September 28 was like none other. Iron Chef Morimoto personally hosts this exciting event, which showcases the delicious cuisine of Morimoto Waikiki and of course, the Iron Chef’s favorite signature cocktails. Singer-songwriter Anuhea rounded out the entertainment with her Maui-inspired blend of acoustic soul, pop and reggae.
It has been a whirlwind first year for Iron Chef Morimoto and his elite team at Morimoto Waikiki. From the restaurant’s official opening in October 2010 to the launch of Sunday Social Brunch to a cameo appearance for Iron Chef Morimoto on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0, there is much to celebrate at Morimoto Waikiki.
In the community, Iron Chef Morimoto and his team have also earned a stellar reputation for their support of local farmers and fishing industry, as well as their support of the Parents and Children Together (PACT) Community Teen Program.
Highpoints of this past year include Iron Chef Morimoto as the special guest host of an Iron-Chef inspired competition for the Parents and Children Together (PACT) Community Teen Program.
More than 20 teams of children and teens, ages seven to 18, participate in the competition. Morimoto participates in the final round of judging, offering encouragement and advice. The event aims to help youth learn about teamwork, healthy competition, nutrition and that cooking can be easy, inexpensive and fun for everyone.
Morimoto developed relationships with the local fishing industry and farmers, sets a goal to eventually purchase 60 to 70 percent of the food from local sources.
Morimoto makes a guest appearance on Hawaii Five-0 playing himself. His karaoke rendition of “What a Wonderful World” is interrupted when Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny ‘Danno’ Williams (Scott Caan) enlist his aid in obtaining evidence from today’s catch, which of course requires a trip to the Morimoto Waikiki kitchens.
In support of Japanese earthquake victims, Iron Chef Morimoto and his team spearhead an effort to raise funds for the Red Cross Japan Relief Fund. Hawaiian recording artists stars Raiatea Helm and Makana join the effort and entertain the crowds at successful fundraiser.
For everyone at Morimoto, the best is yet to come. Not only do Iron Chef Morimoto and his team have more culinary explorations in store that emphasize the rare cultural fusions of Hawaii, their plans also include expansion to new locations in Mexico City and Tribeca (New York City). To learn more, visit morimotowaikiki.com.
In 2001, Morimoto opened his first Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia. In 2004, Wasabi by Morimoto opened to great acclaim at the Taj Mahal in Mumbai, followed in 2005 by the Michelin-star rated Morimoto-XEX in Tokyo.
In January 2006, Morimoto brought his eponymous restaurant to New York City. Earning the James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Restaurant Design in 2008, Morimoto New York has garnered numerous awards, including being named by Condé Nast Traveler as a 2006 Hot List restaurant; one of New York’s Top 50 restaurants by Travel + Leisure; Top Newcomer by Zagat Survey; and one of New York Magazine’s Best New Restaurants.
Morimoto’s first cookbook, Morimoto:The New Art of Japanese Cooking, was published by DK in 2007 and was nominated for a 2008 James Beard Foundation Book Award and won two IACP awards. In 2008, he opened Morimoto Sushi Bar in Boca Raton Club & Resort.
In July 2010, Morimoto opened his first West Coast restaurant in Napa, California. Morimoto Napa received three stars from San Francisco Chronicle and was named one of the best new restaurants in the United States by Food and Wine magazine. His most recent restaurant, Morimoto Waikiki, opened at the Modern Honolulu hotel in September 2010. Designed by Thomas Schoos, Morimoto Waikiki has quickly become Honolulu’s hottest dining location and is Chef Morimoto’s first restaurant to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. www.morimotorestaurant.com