Oktoberfest, by the numbers; the dirndl squeezes into Germany’s limelight; top-tier wedding cakes in Tulsa; Puerto Rico’s pork trail; a big balloon blowout in Albuquerque; golf with Iron Chef Morimoto
Hitting the links with the Iron Chef
On the fifth green at the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links, an intense-looking man with a taut, samurai-style black ponytail leans in, takes a breath and knocks a 15-foot birdie putt dead into the center of the cup. As he walks off the green with a huge grin, a man wearing an impeccable blue blazer and carrying a small silver tray emerges from a golf cart.
The golfer, Chef Masaharu Morimoto, nods eagerly. The internationally recognized sushi chef and TV star has traded in his blue Iron Chef coat for a yellow sweater vest at this year’s Pebble Beach Food and Wine Charity Golf Tournament, but he’s always up for seafood. He makes a fist and offers up the flat spot behind his thumb, where a large dollop of Beluga caviar is placed for him to taste.
Morimoto can seem intimidating, dashing around the Food Network’s kitchen stadium constructing dishes out of fish heads, mangosteens and what have you, but on the course, he’s loose and friendly. Just after he puts the eggs in his mouth, a few volunteers approach him for a photograph. He works the eggs against his teeth, turning his smile into a black, fishy, expensive joke, and grins. He swallows and poses again, shouting, “Say sushi!”
Morimoto has been playing golf since he was very young, and clearly enjoys it. On Pebble’s 10th hole, which sprawls magnificently along the Pacific Ocean, he booms a lovely drive, and then knocks a 175-yard five iron to within 15 feet of the hole. He stands over the putt for a moment, drains it for another birdie, and commences running around the green, high-fiving and fist-bumping his teammates.
Walking to the next tee, Morimoto says he doesn’t get to play as much as he’d like these days — except when he’s visiting Morimoto Waikiki. “When I go to Hawaii, I play a lot. When you’re there, no one can complain. There’s nothing else to do. It’s golf, beach, golf, beach.” —MARK McCLUSKY
AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG