Some fortunate foodies will be heading out Friday night to the Raleigh to partake in the second annual Luckyrice festival hosted by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and hot-ticket restaurateur Michael Schwartz. You may want to forgo a large lunch; the event, celebrating Asian food and cocktails made with Bombay Sapphire East, will serve up inspired creations from over 30 local chefs and mixologists ( www.luckyrice.com).
We managed to squeeze in a chat with Morimoto, who keeps busy opening new restaurants throughout the world, like one at the newly renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand-South Beach Hotel. The famed Japanese slicer and dicer, 58, also has an eponymous sushi bar in Boca Raton.
Can you pick your current guilty pleasure?
Japanese red bean pancakes called dorayaki. They’re high calories so my wife doesn’t allow me to eat them! She cooks healthy for me.
What’s your favorite ingredient lately?
Various types of mushrooms because they are in season. They have subtle flavors, taste and texture and can be served as a main ingredient.
What is an average day like for you?
Since I travel a lot, I don’t have a typical day. But I walk a lot wherever I go. I especially enjoy walking on the beach in Hawaii.
What do you think of Miami’s food scene?
You have a constantly changing and growing culinary scene that incorporates ethnicities and cultures from all over the world. I’m especially happy to see more Asian cuisine.
Where do you like to dine when in town?
I love to explore the city and try different local restaurants. My first thought is to always go for Cuban food. I’ve had some really delicious and authentic dishes there.
You’re surrounded by fabulous food all the time. How do you stay trim?
I walk a lot as I mentioned. I wear Nike’s Fuelband to track my daily activity.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be an Iron Chef?
Take care of your tools, especially knives. For sophisticated cooking, good knife skill is a must.
Who wins in a samurai sword fight -- you or Michael Schwartz?
That would definitely be a close one, but of course, I have to bet on myself.
Maddy Marr & Fred Gonzalez