Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking pays homage to the oba-san*1 (granny or auntie) in the Japanese home kitchen. Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking (published in 2007) was a generous share of how to create exquisite Japanese cuisine with a multicultural flair. If you’ve seen Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef on TV in Japan and/or America, you know he’s a master of Japanese and French cooking. (Frankly, he seems to be well versed in the cuisine of almost every country!) Almost 10 years later, it seems the Iron Chef has returned home to his Hiroshima roots with his latest cookbook.
Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking still has rebellious recipes such as potato chip-centric furikake (seasoned rice sprinkles.) The bulk of the Iron Chef’s recipes in his current cookbook, however, reverberate with Japan tradition. Chef Morimoto’s love for his mentors is also apparent. There are mentions of his time as an executive chef at Nobu in New York. (Thanks to his business partner, Robert De Niro, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa opened the door for foreigners craving an experience of Japanese flavors.) But the spotlight shines brightly on Mrs. Oyama. She was the missus of Ichiban Zushi where 18-year-old Masaharu Morimoto began his apprenticeship. Chef Morimoto recalls, “It was under her tutelage that I made my first dashi. (Japanese soup stock) Every morning, she and her daughter-in-law made the stock from scratch, steeping kombu (dried kelp) in a pot of barely bubbling water before adding handfuls of the feathery katsuobushi (bonito) flakes.”