Chef Masaharu Morimoto, arguably the most skilled Iron Chef that has ever appeared on the Food Network’s long-running series — especially when compared to some of the most recent additions to the Iron Chef pantheon (but don’t get me started on that, don’t even get me started — apparently is a huge baseball fan and once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player during his youth growing up in baseball-crazy Japan.
On Monday, Chef Morimoto was at U.S. Cellular Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago White Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers.
Morimoto says that he remains a big-time fan of his hometown ball team, the Hiroshima Carp, especially alum Hiroki Kuroda, saying, “He’s my hero” about the current New York Yankees pitcher.
But what makes Morimoto’s appearance at a big league ballpark that much more curiouser given his culinary pedigree and how one erroneously may assume he wouldn’t be a big baseball fan is how he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Citizens Bank Park before a Philadelphia Phillies game just last year (video via MLB.com):
Morimoto was at the Bank to help celebrate the ninth annual Asian Pacific Celebration at the ballpark. But at U.S. Cellular Field, he appeared to be there just as a fan, although on both occasions, he fired it a bit high and outside. Probably just nerves. At least he got it to the plate on both attempts.
And how does a man so skilled, so knowledgeable and equipped with such a fine palate feel about traditional ballpark fare? He loves it, saying the correct process at feasting on the food is “Beer, hot dog. Hot dog, beer.” Couldn’t have explained it better myself.
Morimoto also ran into one of his Iron Chef colleagues at the ballgame:
— Chef Morimoto (@chef_morimoto) August 13, 2013