A Chat with Masaharu Morimoto—Host of the 5th Annual LuckyRice Festival


LUCKYRICE, the nation’s preeminent celebration of Asian food and cocktail culture, is set to have it’s 5th Anniversary event on Saturday, November 15th at the Raleigh Pool and Oasis. LuckyRice is presented by Bombay Sapphire East, and has sold-out stops in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where they partner with top local restaurants.

This year, the event will be hosted by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and feature Khong River House, Hakkasan, Juvia, The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Azucar, The Federal, SUSHISAMBA, Katsuya, Lure Fishbar, Barley & Swine, along with 8 celebrated mixologists who will serve a total of 16 custom cocktails featuring BOMBAY SAPPHIRE East and other spirits.

The event was created by founder Danielle Chang, a savvy New Yorker, who’s top picks you can read about here. VIP tickets go for $150, and get you into the festival an hour before the $88 on their website. 


Raleigh Pool


HL: What does LuckyRice mean to you? 

Morimoto: Starting in New York, I have already participated in a few LuckyRice events and always enjoyed them, meeting with other great chefs and having great food. Their Asian themed dishes are inspiring for me.


HL: You’re good at mixing different cuisines — how do you like to mix Asian with Latin flavors?

Morimoto: In recent years, I have added another signature dish to our menu— the Hamachi Taco, which is yellowtail sashimi, jalapeno, and avocado wrapped in crispy tacos. It’s become one of the most popular dishes at Morimoto Restaurants. I love mixture of Asian and Latin flavors.


HL: You have your own like of sake and beer, what do you think of Bombay Sapphire EAST?

Morimoto: I want to pair Bombay Sapphire EAST with my Crispy Whole Fish, which has a spicy tofu sauce. With the two added Asian botanicals, Thai Lemongrass and Vietnamese Black Peppercorn, I’m sure the gin’s unique Asian flavor will pair well with my dish.


HL: Are we going to see you in South Beach a lot now with the opening of your new restaurant, or is your heart still in NY?

Morimoto: Of course! South Beach is only a few hours from New York without time difference. It’s like my backyard!