Why Masaharu Morimoto Originally Didn't Want To Be On Iron Chef

Chef Masaharu Morimoto might be all smiles on his official website, but anyone who's watched the legendary "Iron Chef" knows that he's one hard nut to crack. After an injury ended his nascent baseball career, young Morimoto devoted himself to the art of cooking, and the combination of his skills and "Iron Chef" exposure turned him into a restaurant powerhouse and a sake entrepreneur

Morimoto was an executive chef at Nobu before his "Iron Chef" tenure took off, so he probably would've been a pretty big shot in the restaurant business even without his stint on the show. Still, his stony face and ultra-professional attitude made him such a natural fit for the cooking show that you'd imagine he jumped at the chance to join it when the call came. However, this isn't exactly the case, and Morimoto was actually quite hesitant to don the iconic uniform. Here's why Morimoto originally didn't want to be on "Iron Chef."

Chef Morimoto was afraid to take on the mantle of Iron Chef

Morimoto's tenure as an Iron Chef got its start from a happy accident, though one that shocked the chef himself (per MSN). A fan of his Nobu cooking ended up inviting a bunch of friends to sample it, and one of said friends was a producer and judge from the Japanese "Iron Chef." Evidently, Morimoto's cooking was pretty impressive, seeing as a few months down the line, he received the offer to become a new Iron Chef. The chef's reaction was to ... immediately refuse. "I didn't even know that program," he told CBS News. "My answer was, 'No, I can't.'"

Per MSN, Morimoto was actually rather nervous about the gig; ultimately, he only accepted the opportunity when other expat Japanese chefs started pestering him to go and show the Japanese culinary scene that a chef who left the country to cook abroad could still rule the roost. This overruled the insecurity Morimoto originally felt about "Iron Chef," and it's probably fair to say that he very much went and represented. Even so, he's stated in an interview with Haute Living that it was never an easy task. "No matter how many years I've been cooking for or how many episodes of the show I've been on, I still get nervous every time!" Morimoto revealed. "It will always be a challenge to use surprise ingredients, no matter how prepared you think you are."