Chicago Shimpo
Japanese Cuisine at Chicago Gourmet
Iron Chef Morimoto on Stage and Talks on
the Right Way of Eating Sushi

• A week long food festival Bon Appetit Chicago Gourmet’s main event was held at Chicago’s Millennium Park on September 28th and 29th, and many other related events were held at different places in Chicago between September 24th and 29th. The events are produced by the Illinois Restaurant Association and Bon Appetit.

• This year, 56 exhibitors opened booths and introduced their food, beverages, and services. Under the Gourmet Tasting Pavilions, food was served by 170 restaurants with special themes such as Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co., Gardens of the Galaxy Veggie, and Keeping up with the Konfections Dessert.

• Under the four Great Lawn Tasting Tents, 77 groups and organizations introduced numerous bottles of wine, whisky, spirits, and more. JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) Chicago introduced some varieties of Japanese sake under the tents.

• Japan Pavilion was opened by the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago in conjunction with some Japanese companies to introduce Japanese cuisine, bottles of sake, culture, sightseeing spots, and more. This year the size of Japan Pavilion was tripled.

• In the Japan Pavilion, seven Japanese restaurants introduced Japanese cuisine. They were:
• Strings Ramen Shop (Chashu Mazesoba), Kizuki Restaurant (Japanese Hotdog), Kamehachi (Smoked Kampachi Nigiri and grilled salmon with yuzu soy flavor), Bar Ramone (Spanish Crispy Rice with Tuna Confit, Kizami Wasabi Salsa), Arami Restaurant (Buta no Kakuni, pork belly), Naoki Sushi (Shrimp Tempura Poke), and Yoshi's Café (Smoked wagyu with wasabi and Ringo sauce).
• According to Nobuko Katsumura, owner of Yoshi’s Café, about 2000 dishes of smoked wagyu were served. The wagyu was black “Hitachi-gyu”, a brand from Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.

• Under the Japan Pavilion, two Japanese Sake Distributors introduced bottles of sake.
• Kobrand served Eiko Fuji Banryu from Yamagata Prefecture, Maboroshi Junmai Ginjo from Hiroshima, and Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo from Ibaraki.
• On the other hand, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Illinois introduced Tedorigawa Kinka Nama Daiginjo from Ishikawa, and Izumo Fuji Ancient Shrine Junmai from Shimane.

• Japan Airlines (JAL) offered a roundtrip ticket to Japan if a visitor uploads his or her photo taken in front of Japan Pavilion on Instagram.

• All visitors to Japan Pavilion were treated by samples: Hi-Chew from Morinaga, Ponzu and Gluten-free soy sauce from Kikkoman, and Matcha Green Tea from Itoen.

Iron Chef Morimoto

• On the Main Stage and Culinary Stage, cooking demonstrations were held by about 40 famous chefs all of the days. This year, world-famous Iron Chef Masaharu Matsumoto demonstrated tuna cutting into sushi or sashimi pieces.

• Chef Morimoto stood in front of a 130-pound tuna and explained how to examine the quality of a tuna.
• First, upper side of tuna is more expensive than under side because under side endures the whole weight of the tuna. When you buy a chunk of tuna, make sure it is an upper side or under side.
• Second, watch carefully kerf of the tuna tail when you buy one at a fish market. The kerf indicates condition of fat in tuna, well fatted or not.

• Tuna is quite expensive, but restaurant-quality meat is only 60% to 70% of a tuna. That’s why sushi or sashimi is expensive.
• Tuna swims in cold water, so its fat is thick around its skin. The meat around center bone has less fat, and its color is red.

• While Morimoto was talking, he threw a small piece of tuna meat to the audience to entertain everyone there.

• He cut the tuna into oo-tro (belly of tuna with a high fat content), chu-tro (medium fatty tuna) and red meat in about 20 minutes. He advised the audience how to eat sushi or sashimi, saying, “Don’t mix wasabi with soy sauce.” A piece of sushi already has wasabi between topping and rice, so putting a little soy sauce on the topping is good enough. Importantly, don’t soak sushi rice into soy sauce. The right way to eat sushi is in one bite.

• Chef Masaharu Morimoto came to the U.S. in 1985 after he had years of training in Japan. He paved the way for his future with his originality and ingenuity, and now he has 16 Morimoto brand restaurants in New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Hawaii, India, Dubai, Qatar, Maui, Tokyo and other places.
• Morimoto used to have a restaurant Japonais in Chicago, but he closed it several years ago. Asked by an audience member if he will open a restaurant in Chicago again, he said, “Yes,” without details.
• He said that he has been always challenging something new in cooking and trembles with excitement until he grabs a cooking knife.

Chicago Gourmet visitors gather at Japan Pavilion to enjoy colorful presentation of “Shrimp Tempura Poe” served by Naoki Sushi.

Buta no Kakuni served by Arami Restaurant

Yoshi’s Café prepares smoked wagyu with wasabi and ringo sauce.

Tokiwagyu served by Yoshi’s Café

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto performs 130 bound tuna cutting on the main stage.