Menu CATEGORIES

Connect with us

CATEGORIES Menu
All Articles

Lecture Hop: The Japanese Iron Chef

The first rule of Iron Chef is that there are no rules.

Yesterday, legendary Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Jordan Sand, chair of Georgetown’s Japanese History Department, teamed up to help give the rest of the world a taste of what it means to be a master culinary artist. Bwog’s resident authority on all things edible/Closeted Iron Chef fan, freshman Bijan Samareh, was in attendance to give us the details.

As immortalized by the posters lining the walls of Ferris Booth, the quote, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” is not just an epigram to trick you into mistaking your soggy pasta for high cuisine. Rather, it is a way of life for the true patrons of the culinary arts. Appropriately, the quote was used to introduce Chef Masaharu Morimoto to the stage at his cooking demonstration and lecture last night, presented by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture in the beautiful teatro of Casa Italiana. Chef Morimoto is well known as an Iron Chef on both the original Japanese version of the show and Iron Chef America.

Bwog was front and center as swarms of tweed jackets poured into the auditorium, slowly but surely filling the entire seating area. The event began with Jordan Sand, a Columbia Ph.D., who introduced Chef Morimoto by outlining the chef’s life and many accomplishments. Morimoto was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1955. In his youth, Morimoto had to give up his dream of becoming a professional baseball player after sustaining a severe shoulder injury. Greatness did not elude him, however, as he shifted his focus into cooking, and eventually came to own restaurants all over the United States, as well as in Tokyo, Mumbai, and New Delhi. Now, he cuts his vegetables with a $5,000 knife and uses tortoise shell chopsticks.

The chef himself then came on stage in prime sushi chef swag (a robe, floral socks, and a ponytail that shouldn’t be trifled with). His table was decked out with a wide variety of fish, vegetables, and flavorings. First, he demonstrated step-by-step to the audience how to make traditional Japanese sushi, from cutting up the fish to garnishing with lemon. He then demonstrated to the audience what he is really famous for—his fusion cooking. The Iron Chef prepared a few dishes that adjust Japanese cooking to match western pallets. He exemplified this skill by preparing Japanese fish noodles Italian-pasta style.

The session concluded with a question and answer session where the audience was given insight into the Iron Chef’s master philosophy. Morimoto’s rules for cooking are simple: there is no such thing as “inherently delicious”, never say no, you must eat sushi in one bite, there are no new geniuses, restaurants are 30% food and 70% atmosphere, and, of course, there are no rules. His unrestricted temperament is the key to Morimoto’s success in the culinary arts.

Needless to say, having watched this man work, my stop by JJ’s Place to pick up a late dinner after the event was a sobering slap to the face by reality.

Iron Chef Morimoto via Wikimedia

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published.

 

2 Comments

  • Ala Cuisine says:

    @Ala Cuisine One thing not mentioned was Morimoto’s excellent singing voice. After the cooking presentation he sang a traditional Japanese fisherman’s song to the audience.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous ALLEZ CUISINE

  • Have Your Say

    What should you actually Venmo people for?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Recent Comments

    or maybe don’t be annoying? just a thought (read more)
    To Whoever Just Shushed Me On Milstein 2
    February 21, 2020
    tag urself im "bloated and wordy" (read more)
    Why You’re Single As Told By Teachers’ Essay Comments
    February 21, 2020
    wait, can you actually move the tooth? (read more)
    Statues Around Campus: FMK
    February 20, 2020
    Columbia is generally rated as having the best food in the Ivy League. (read more)
    Chef Robert Irvine Judges Columbia Dining Halls
    February 20, 2020

    Comment Policy

    The purpose of Bwog’s comment section is to facilitate honest and open discussion between members of the Columbia community. We encourage commenters to take advantage of—without abusing—the opportunity to engage in anonymous critical dialogue with other community members. A comment may be moderated if it contains:
    • A slur—defined as a pejorative derogatory phrase—based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or spiritual belief
    • Hate speech
    • Unauthorized use of a person’s identity
    • Personal information about an individual
    • Baseless personal attacks on specific individuals
    • Spam or self-promotion
    • Copyright infringement
    • Libel