Morimoto Bringing Japanese Flavor to Wine Country

Anyone who has watched Food Networks, “Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America” is familiar with Chef Masaharu Morimoto, a regular to the sometimes-kooky culinary challenges. Recently, having lost 40 pounds (the old fashion way with exercise) and working on his new restaurant, Morimoto Napa, it looks like Chef Morimoto could very well be on top of the world.

At the 12th Annual “Worlds of Flavor” conference, Morimoto had a chance to talk to Carolyn Jung about his new plans. The conference was held at the Culinary Institute of America at in St. Helena, and this year’s theme was “World Street Food, World Comfort Food.” Included in the chef’s demonstrations were okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory pancake layered with noodles, pork and a fried egg) and takoyaki (a Japanese octopus donut hole).

Regarding his choice to open his sixth restaurant in wine country, the Japanese chef admits that after his visit two years ago for the  “Worlds of Flavor” conference, he liked Napa. “It’s a culinary place,” he says.

Designer, Thomas Schoos, who projects have included Tao in Las Vegas, will be the designer for Morimoto Napa. Essentially the restaurant will have three components: a sushi bar, a fine-dining room and omakase (a late-night lounge and a retail store).  “People will be able to buy fish and Wagyu beef from Japan to take home to cook. We may sell bento box lunches and do catering for parties, too,” says Morimoto.

Patrons should expect nothing less than true Morimoto style in the restaurant. And with the number of establishments already in business, Morimoto plans to spend as much time at the Napa restaurant as he can.
In regards to buying a place in Napa, “depends on the price,” he joked, “I am thinking of getting a place here. Maybe.”

Via: Food Gal