Iron Chef Morimoto Keeping Fit

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - October 20, 2010
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Masaharu Morimoto

Iron Chef star Masaharu Morimoto welcomes 180 new kids to his family. At least that’s how he refers to the employees of his newest restaurant, Morimoto Waikiki, which opened this month in The Waikiki Edition hotel.

As his business expands, the Iron Chef says he wants to be there for his staff - which means he needs to be healthy, so about a month ago he decided to quit drinking alcohol.

“I was a very heavy drinker,” says Morimoto, 55. “I started drinking when I was kind of young. I really love it. But I open a lot of spots, so I have a lot of kids. I’m getting old, my business expanded a lot, so I have to take care of myself.”

Since he quit drinking, Morimoto says he wakes up earlier and feels better. He’s been spending a lot of time in Waikiki recently, and goes walking and jogging at the beach for about an hour-and-a-half every morning. He also enjoys golfing, and when he’s on the Mainland he tries to make it to the gym.

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"Now I want to see my doctor," he says, "and make his face very happy."

Morimoto was born in Hiroshima, Japan, and was a star athlete before he was a celebrity chef. He played baseball in high school as a catcher and came close to playing professionally. "I was almost drafted to a professional team in Hiroshima, but I got injured (in the shoulder) and I give up," he explains.

Now Morimoto is known for his cutting-edge cuisine. His signature dishes include Crispy Rock Shrimp Tempura, Tuna Pizza and Spicy King Crab. Each of his restaurants, however, has a different menu and design.

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“This is not a chain,” he says. “(For Morimoto Waikiki) I try to use a lot of local ingredients such as pineapple, mango, Maui onions, local fish. And I work with local people.

“The food, concept and design is different. I can’t explain it, you have to come, see and try for yourself.”

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