Stop everything. You’ve watched him on Iron Chef and you’ve watched him on Iron Chef America — yes, you know who we’re talking about! We spoke to the man, the myth, the legend — Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto himself — and we’re sharing allllll the details with you!
Ever wondered what Chef Morimoto himself would recommend you try from his Morimoto Asia restaurant in Disney Springs? Or what makes Morimoto Asia so unique when compared to his other restaurants? Well, we’ve got ALL the answers you need!
In case you’re not familiar with it, Morimoto Asia is a table service, Pan-Asian restaurant located in Disney Springs that was created by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. It features Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines, with dim sum, sushi, peking duck, and more.
This spot sits at 2 stories high and has show kitchens where chefs can really show off their skills. The restaurant was recognized by the Michelin Guide in 2022 and is truly one of our FAVORITE spots in all of Disney Springs.
In addition to the main restaurant, you can stop by Morimoto Asia Street Food, a quick service spot that lets you try some of Chef Morimoto’s creations without having to do the full table service experience.
This spot generally serves up sushi, ramen, Morimoto spare ribs, and more (though menu offerings can change a lot)!
Chef Morimoto himself is widely known for his appearances on Iron Chef (he first competed in 1998) and Iron Chef America (he became a star of this show in 1999). He studied sushi in his hometown of Hiroshima after an injury ended his promising baseball career (as a catcher) in Japan. At the age of 24 he opened his own restaurant, and moved to America a few years later to explore more possibilities.
He has opened restaurants in places ALL over the world (including his spots in Disney World) and has received awards for his cuisine and aesthetic. He also has cookbooks you can pick up to learn the art behind his techniques, and he has produced a line of premium sake, his own miso soup fans can buy to make at home, instant ramen, and much more.
In August of 2022, Chef Morimoto made his way over to Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs for a special celebration. Two promotions were made within the Morimoto Asia culinary team, so he came down as part of the festivities.
Specifically, Chef Yuhi Fujinaga was promoted to be the Culinary Director of the Orlando concepts for the Patina Restaurant Group (this group is the force behind a few restaurants in Disney World including Space 220, Maria & Enzo’s, Via Napoli, and others).
Chef Takeshi Ikeuchi also got a promotion, moving from Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef of Morimoto Asia.
To celebrate, Chef Morimoto came into town. He mingled with guests at the restaurant, helped with some of the creations being made at the sushi bar and in the kitchen, and was available for special meet-and-greets.
Ahead of the event, we got the chance to send Chef Morimoto some questions (digitally) all about Morimoto Asia, what’s next for the restaurant, and what YOU should order when there. Here’s our full interview with the Chef!
DFB: Congratulations on the new promotions at Morimoto Asia! What kinds of changes do you see in the restaurant’s future as a result of these staffing changes? What direction do you hope to see Morimoto Asia taking over the next couple of years?
MM: I have worked closely with both Chef Yuhi Fujinaga and Chef Takeshi Ikeuchi, and couldn’t be more excited for their recent promotions and for the culinary direction of Morimoto Asia. I expect Morimoto Asia to continue to innovate and elevate in its cuisine offerings, seasonal events, and dining experiences in the years to come.
DFB: We’ve enjoyed trying so much of the menu at Morimoto Asia. Are there any new menu items coming soon that we should look out for?
MM: We are always trying to stay ahead of the latest culinary trends, and introduce seasonal and limited time offerings for special occasions, such as the holidays. Morimoto Asia also offers a menu of daily dinner specials which change often, letting guests savor new bites every time they visit.
DFB: What kind of impact does a change in the Executive Sous Chef have on a restaurant?
MM: Every chef brings a unique culinary perspective based on their training and experience, meaning a change in the culinary team brings an opportunity to continue to elevate cuisine and experiences.
DFB: You have a lot of restaurants around the world — what is it about Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs that makes this location unique from your other locations and from other restaurants in the Springs?
MM: Morimoto Asia was my first Pan-Asian restaurant, and the menu includes flavors and techniques from many different Asian countries. The location offers a glass-encased exhibition kitchen, letting guests see our chefs at work. Plus, I am a huge fan of Mickey Mouse, and it is a joy to be on Walt Disney World Resort property and be a part of the Disney family.
DFB: You’re known well for your success on Iron Chef and Iron Chef America – how did your success there inform the creation of Morimoto Asia?
MM: I am very grateful that I got to be on both Iron Chef and Iron Chef America years ago. The experiences I had in those competitions, including dealing with the stress and pressure, helped to inspire a new level of creativity with my dishes.
DFB: What dishes should guests absolutely not miss when they visit Morimoto Asia? Any personal favorites?
MM: The Morimoto “Buri-Bop” is definitely one of my personal favorite dishes on the menu. It’s a Korean-Style rice bowl with yellowtail, served in a hot clay pot and finished with egg yolk. I would also say guests should try our signature Morimoto Spare Ribs, which is served with hoisin sweet chili glaze, and the Peking whole roasted duck, which is also very popular.
So there you have it! Side note — the Buri-Bop truly is AHmazing, packed with the flavors of ginger and soy, with a little bit of crispy rice at the bottom, and some stellar flavors all throughout. And the ribs are a messy but perfect dish for any day of the week — see the recipe to make them here!
Thank you so much to Chef Morimoto for answering all of our questions. We look forward to seeing what comes to Morimoto Asia in the future. Keep following DFB for more food updates.
Click here to see our page ALL about Morimoto Asia — with links to ALL of our reviews of the restaurant
Have you ever been to Morimoto Asia? Tell us your favorite item on the menu there!
The post EXCLUSIVE Interview With Chef Masaharu Morimoto About Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs first appeared on the disney food blog.