From his early acclaim behind the sushi counter at Philadelphia’s Nobu, to his global empire of eponymous restaurants, Masaharu Morimoto (best known to Food Network fans as the iconic Iron Chef Japan) has carried the banner for fine Asian cuisine to every corner of the world, including Walt Disney World. Attractions Magazine had the opportunity to interview him ahead of his recent in-person appearances at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs, and we were honored to be able to talk to this culinary legend about his taste for top-shelf whiskey, the future of fresh fish, and one of his favorite theme park attractions.
Photo courtesy of Morimoto Asia
[Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.]
This has been a really hard year for everyone, especially the restaurant business. How you are you and your restaurants doing coming out of the pandemic?
Of course everybody is having a hard time with this pandemic. The economy and people are coming back, but then a new [variant] is coming in. Who knows? But we have to do something, as much as we can, right now. Try as much as we can to keep it clean, and stay healthy, and then keep high motivation for the customers’ satisfaction. They’re coming in, not exactly the same as before the pandemic, [but] people are coming in and we appreciate it.
Now it’s very difficult to get some ingredients because of the supply chain; prices are getting a lot higher, but I can’t make my price higher. But we’re ok; we’re more than ok. For example, here [in Orlando] is very, very good business and motivation. People who walk in here have very high energy; customers could feel if we lost some energy […] and then don’t come back. Even with a pandemic — COVID-19, whatever you have — we have to keep the motivation high, and the energy high.