Back in 2004, chef Masaharu Morimoto was one of the first ones to introduce Mumbai to Japanese cuisine. Morimoto was in town recently for the 11th anniversary celebrations of Wasabi by Morimoto at the Taj Mahal Palace. We get the chef to talk about his food experiences:
If you weren’t a sushi chef, you would be?
A baseball player. Baseball was my passion as a young person. I still miss it.
Best meal you’ve had?
Any and all ramen dishes. I love ramen, and there’s been such a variety of it in my life — every place has a different version. The chef at Kyubei, a sushi restaurant in Tokyo, is pretty innovative.
One thing you won’t eat.
I’ll eat anything as long as it’s edible.
The most interesting thing you’ve seen from behind a sushi bar.
The numerous proposals at my restaurants. I’ve put a ring in food or a drink a hundred times. And each time, the proposal has been accepted. I then shake the man’s hand and say, ‘welcome to hell’. (laughs)
Most surprising thing about Mumbai.
I was surprised by how open everyone was to Japanese food and culture. They have adapted to a very foreign cuisine quickly.
Favourite Indian spice.
Garam masala. I use too much of it now.
Advice for someone eating at Wasabi for the first time.
Tell us if you’re on a date so that the waiters don’t bother you. Also, trust your servers’ recommendations.
What you would eat at your own restaurant.
Best part about being a chef.
Eating the food I make, naturally.
High and low points of your career.
The highlight is having my name on the restaurant door. There hasn’t been a low point yet. Everything that has happened has been, in retrospect, part of the process which led to a greater good.
(The writer tweets as @apoorva_dutt )