Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto measures ingredients for a spicy sauce to be added to a shrimp tempura dish at the Emry Bowling Lanes on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2012. Two shrimp dishes were added to the bowling lane menu by the chef; one of the dishes was a spicy mustard shrimp tempura dish. Morimoto came to Kadena to meet with Airmen and their families, give sushi and sashimi demonstrations and judge Kadena?s cooking competition, held Nov. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto signs an apron with the help of his sous-chef after a sushi and sashimi demonstration at the Rocker NCO Club on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2012. Chef Morimoto signed photos, books, aprons and cutting boards Nov. 1 at Kadena’s Exchange among other events the Chef attended. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto chops tuna fillets for sushi rolls during a sushi and sashimi demonstration at the Rocker NCO Club on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2012. Chef Morimoto has been a chef for approximately 37 years, and owns seven restaurants in America. The Iron Chef also judged the final round of Kadena?s cooking competition, held on Nov. 3, and did a meet and greet at the Base Exchange where hundreds of people came out to get his autograph and a photo with him. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
by Airman 1st Class Hailey Davis
18th Wing Public Affairs
11/7/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The world famous Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto visited the 18th Wing for a few days, where he demonstrated how to prepare sushi and sashimi dishes, met service members and their families and even helped judge the final round of Kadena's cooking competition.
"It was exciting to see him and to watch him work," said Jamie Scearcy, an audience member at the Rocker who won a raffle to meet Morimoto. "He's very skillful and funny."
The NCO Rocker Club was one of the first places to host one of Morimoto's live demonstrations that included cutting an 80 pound yellow-fin tuna into fillets that would then be used in sushi rolls for the audience.
This was Morimoto's first ever visit to a U.S. military installation and he said he was very impressed with the people at Kadena.
Team Kadena was excited to see him as well. Hundreds of people stood in line to get autographs and photos during his meet and greet at the Kadena Base Exchange.
"You don't ever think you'll be able to go up and shake his hand," Scearcy said. "He's very kind, humble and personable."
The Iron Chef was also very impressed with Kadena's dining facilities and kitchens, such as the Emery Lanes Bowling Complex.
During one of his demonstrations he even added a shrimp tempura dish to Emery Lanes menu and worked with 18th Force Support Squadron chefs.
"I was supposed to do a regular demo of sushi and sashimi, but most of the people were Japanese chefs, and they weren't interested in sashimi; so I changed the game plan. I did Iron Chef (presentations)," Morimoto said.
"When I was little I had two dreams, one was about baseball and one was a chef," Morimoto said. "Unfortunately I had to give up baseball because of a shoulder injury, so I decided for myself I was going to be a chef."
He explained how his family would go out to a restaurant every few months and how the sushi chef inspired him and made him want to be just like them.
"The sushi man was very cool, white hat and white jacket," Morimoto described. "The movements were very cool, and I wanted to be a chef ever since I was very little. Also, I like to eat."
Morimoto began his career as a chef right after he graduated high school.
"I started this job when I was 18 years old," explained the Iron Chef. "I've been doing this for 37 years, and I'm still running."
Morimoto said that despite the difficulties of becoming a chef, he loves what he does and that people have to love what they do if they want to pursue their dreams.
"Becoming a chef is not hard but also not easy," the Iron Chef said. "You have to love to cook all the time, and you can't be afraid to touch anything or to try many different styles."