Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Masaharu Morimoto
Occupation: Chef, author, Iron Chef; currently opening the new Morimoto Las Vegas at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
Residence: NYC, Hawaii, Hiroshima
Facebook: Iron Chef Morimoto
YouTube: Iron Chef Morimoto
Short bio: Chef Masaharu Morimoto—known to millions as the star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America—has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients. In 2001, Morimoto opened his first restaurant in Philadelphia, which was later followed by restaurants in New York, Napa, Maui, Waikiki, Boca Raton, Mumbai, New Delhi, Mexico City, Disney Springs, and Bangkok, and he just opened a Morimoto restaurant in the MGM in Las Vegas. In 2017, Chef Morimoto will continue to expand his culinary empire with Morimoto restaurants in Doha and Dubai, as well as a Morimoto Asia in Waikiki. Recently, Morimoto opened Momosan Ramen & Sake in New York City, his first ramen-focused restaurant with a focus on traditional Japanese ramen dishes and an extensive sake selection, and will expand the concept to Waikiki in 2017.
Since 1998, Morimoto has competed on the Japanese television show, Iron Chef and also appears on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. His first cookbook, “Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking,” won two IACP awards—in the “Chef’s and Restaurants” category and the “First Book: The Julia Child Award”—and it was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. His second cookbook, “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking,” will release this November.
How often do you fly? Every week, unfortunately.
How many countries have you been to? About 30.
How many continents have you been to? Five.
Earliest travel memory: My family didn’t travel growing up but in high school, my team was the most famous team in our prefecture so we traveled by train to play games.
Favorite American city: Anywhere where I have a restaurant! NY, Philly, Napa, Las Vegas, Maui, Disney Springs/Orlando, Waikiki, Boca Raton.
Favorite international city: Hiroshima.
Least favorite country: I like them all!
I have no desire to go to: I want to travel everywhere that I can.
Friendliest people in the world: Honestly, everyone I have encountered is friendly.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Canada is very strict…we are close to each other but it’s difficult to get in and out.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Thailand Buddhist temples.
Favorite airline: United is the carrier I fly most often but I prefer Japanese airlines like ANA because they offer more Japanese entertainment programs, magazines, inflight entertainment.
Favorite aircraft type: Any plane w a flat bed.
Aisle or window: Aisle 100%
Favorite airport lounge: Singapore or Frankfurt.
Favorite U.S. airport: Newark.
Favorite international airport: Hiroshima.
Favorite hotel: Grand Hyatt Tokyo…or the Andaz Napa & Waialua.
Favorite cruise line: Princess Cruises.
Favorite travel credit card: Amex.
Favorite island: Any of the Hawaiian islands.
Favorite beach: Ipanema!
Favorite National Park: White River National Forest in Aspen, Colorado.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Daniel NYC.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Ebisu Market—small tiny stalls and a great food court.
Favorite bar: Angel’s Share NYC.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Japanese.
Least favorite food: I will try anything.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air, I drink sparking water or sake after work.
Favorite travel movie(s): Any movie with George Clooney or Tom Cruise.
Favorite travel show(s): I love Tony Bourdain’s shows.
Favorite travel book(s): Japanese cartoons.
Right now I am reading: “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking”—my new book that comes out 11/8.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: WSJ, Japanese Nikkei, USA Today.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! CN Traveler or Travel + Leisure.
5 things you bring on a plane: Slippers, earphones, Japanese cartoons, reading glasses, phone.
What do you always seem to forget? Sport towel.
What do you like least about travel? Flight delays—especially when I am on my way home.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? 18 year-old whiskey.
Favorite travel app(s): United.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Moscow.
What’s your dream destination? Vietnam.
Best travel tip: Get good sleep.