We’re used to seeing Masaharu Morimoto perform his culinary acrobatics on Iron Chef, fashioning sushi out of bell peppers or combining Coke with fermented soy beans for an off-the-cuff dessert. But like anyone else, the chef has comfort foods that he returns to frequently when he’s not in the throes of competition. One of those is curry rice, a staple of Japanese home-cooking that always kept him satisfied during his years as a baseball player.

When recounting his career-changing dishes, Morimoto explained:

 

The Japanese like importing ideas from other countries, and so we imported curry from India and changed it into our curry rice. We love anything that goes with white rice, and curry is perfect. Some Japanese spice-makers created an instant curry roux and ever since, like any other families in Japan, mine would eat curry rice every other week. When I opened Morimoto Waikiki at the Modern Honolulu, I combined the local Hawaiian dish loco moco with curry rice and called it ‘Loco Moto.’ It’s one of the most popular dishes there. 

 

Watch the video above to see Morimoto make his mom’s curry rice and reminisce about his childhood dreams—including how he realized he wanted to be a sushi chef. 

Suunnittelija Paola Suhonen Los Angelesissa

A riff on curry rice called “Loco Moto” that the chef serves at Morimoto Waikiki.

RELATED: Morimoto’s 10 Career-Changing Dishes