Iron Chef Takes on Napa

But there was a prior time when Morimoto would rather slide into home plate than prepare dinner plates. He wanted to be a professional baseball player in Japan’s major leagues, but a shoulder injury sidelined him indefinitely. Luckily for the culinary world, Morimoto went on to pursue his other childhood dream as a sushi chef. After working in several restaurants, he joined Nobu restaurant in New York City. But it was the Japan’s Iron Chef show and the American spinoff that turned Morimoto into a household name. The experience was “tough and a lot of pressure,” he says. “[It was] always a new challenge.”

Since then, Morimoto is joining the ranks of restaurant imperialism. He opened his own restaurant, Morimoto, in Philadelphia in 2002 and a second one in New York City in 2006. Napa is his third.

Whether at home or in the restaurant, Morimoto surrounds himself with people who respect and admire his vigor for culinary perfection. “I think like most people who are successful, he is a perfectionist and very demanding,” says Stone, “but it means that the results are worth it, because of that attention to detail and rigor and professionalism. He is also just incredibly creative. It’s a wonderful combination to have that creativity and discipline, and to me, they make spectacular results.” And according to Chef Jeffrey, “That’s why his restaurants are successful. It’s not just luck; it’s hard work.”

With such resilient support and impeccable culinary repertoire, it is easy to see why Morimoto is such a superstar. Napa opens its arms to this brilliant chef and entrepreneur and the talent and unique perspective he brings to the Bay Area.

However, don’t count on the restaurateur to fix you up something palatable in his own kitchen. “I don’t cook anything in my home,” the Iron Chef confesses. “Only my wife cooks.”

Morimoto Napa is located at 610 Main St., Napa, CA.
For reservations call 707.252.1600 or visit