Morimoto, with the aid of his sous chef, demonstrated how to cook and prepare a Takoyaki and Kobe Carpaccio dish. I have watched Morimoto cook on Iron Chef America many times over the years, and it was surreal to sit in the same room he was standing in and to watch him cook right before my very eyes! As he was cooking, Morimoto talked about several things ranging from his childhood memories to his experiences on Iron Chef America (it really is just a one hour cooking battle). Apparently, Morimoto initially intended to become a professional baseball player, but a shoulder injury ended his potential career in sports. He then turned his attention to food (particularly sushi), and the rest is history.
Towards the end of his cooking demonstration, waiters started filing into the room, each holding a silver platter with several small plates of Takoyaki and Kobe Carpaccio. Every single person attending the cooking demonstration received a serving of this wonderful and unique dish. The Takoyaki was a ball of flour-based batter filled with diced octopus (tako), duck liver, and pickled ginger, then topped with crispy bonito. The Kobe Carpaccio drizzled with Yuzu Soy sauce was so flavorful and tender, it melted the second it hit my mouth–I would love to be able to eat this every day!
The cooking demonstration was followed with a Q&A session with the audience, during which Morimoto answered a range of questions: how he first became interested in making food for others, his current favorite restaurant in Los Angeles (Hinoki & The Bird), and his favorite type of sushi to make (kona kampachi). One audience member was even bold (or rash?) enough to ask Morimoto for an intern position at one of his restaurants. Morimoto closed the event by singing a traditional Japanese fisherman’s song–a fitting ending to the celebrity chef’s showcase of his Japanese culinary influences.
Once the Morimoto Cooking Demonstration ended, we walked over to the Asian Night Market, where several food and beverage vendors were set up and ready to serve hordes of hungry foodies. The Night Market was located on the block of Grand Avenue, a major street in downtown LA that was blocked off to traffic due to the event. The transformation of Grand Avenue from a busy, dirty street to an upscale food tasting venue was quite amazing!
Sadly, I made a food blogger rookie mistake–I didn’t check to make sure my digital camera was fully charged before leaving for the Food & Wine Festival. It turned out my digital camera was completely out of battery! On top of that, my smartphone battery was running low from taking so many pictures and videos during Morimoto’s cooking demonstration. My boyfriend and I hurriedly got in line to grab food, take pictures of the dish, eat the food, then move on to the next food stand to repeat the process.
We enjoyed every dish we ate, but some dishes stood out more than others: Night + Market’s Koi Tuna, Crustacean/House of An’s Garlic Noodles, Belga Café’s Hoegaarden Beer Float, Nobu’s Salmon Tacos (which I unfortunately do not have a picture of), and Patina’s Nitro Cotton Candy. Although, for me, nothing compares to the night markets in Taiwan, this culinary event gave me a new outlook on what an Asian night market could be. I was thrilled to see how even the non-Asian restaurants created delectable dishes with Asian-inspired ingredients.
In addition to all the food we devoured, my boyfriend and I took advantage of some of the many libations offered at the Night Market. There were several beverage stands serving unlimited wine, beer, sake, and cocktails.
This was one of the rare nights I had time on my side. When we stopped by Morimoto’s food stand (which served the Takoyaki he demonstrated earlier), Morimoto was standing right there. At that moment, I didn’t care as much about the abundance of high-end dishes available to me–I was simply reveling in the fact that I was able to take a picture with the famous chef!
I had so much fun (and food) at the Morimoto Cooking Demonstration and Asian Night Market! My boyfriend and I were incredibly lucky to have won a pair of tickets to this much-anticipated event. The regular price of just one ticket is pricey, but it is well worth the money if you take advantage of all the event has to offer. I hope to attend next year’s Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival!
Third Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
Morimoto Cooking Demonstration
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Asian Night Market
Downtown LA: Between 1st and 2nd Street on Grand Avenue
Event Date: August 23, 2013
Price: General Admission, $125; VIP Access, $175