For the record, Masaharu Morimoto does introduce himself just by his last name when he calls you on the phone. The chef has just published his first cookbook, Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking, which features, in addition to many photographs of its author tying his cooking kimono in the traditional samurai style, more than 120 recipes. One may never really master Morimoto’s most basic slicing skills or plating instincts, but he insists it’s possible. You can even make tofu at table-side while your friends ooh and ahh. When we spoke to him, Morimoto claimed he’s no pastry chef, but below is his red miso soufflé recipe—one of the more tame desserts included in the book. (Asparagus Pocky and sugared salmon with beet sorbet and yuzu foam are clear Iron Chef offspring. We’ll let you attempt those on your own.)
So, what would you want to eat for your last meal? Of course, sushi.
Of course. What kind of fish would you want to eat? Would it be traditional? Yes, very traditional. I think I would make it myself. It would all be local, so it depends on the season. If there was eel, I would have eel. If there was really good tuna, I would have that. So I don’t know what season it would be. I would have really good seaweed—everything. Maybe I have to do the polishing the rice, washing it, making the tea. I would do it all myself.
How long does it take to make the rice? Maybe one hour. Oh, and I would maybe also drink some Mori- moto sake. My own brand.
Any sweets? Sweets . . . hmm. Maybe, maybe not. I’d be very full. And I’m not a pastry chef. I know what else I would have: miso soup with tofu.
Where would you want to be? In my restaurant.
Red Miso Soufflé
(Makes four servings)
Recipe by Masaharu Morimoto, from Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking. DK Publishing, New York.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 11, 2007