Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group announced the appointment of Yuhi Fujinaga as executive chef of Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Beginning immediately, Chef Yuhi will be overseeing the day-to-day culinary operations at The Iron Chef's first pan-Asian restaurant.
"I met Chef Morimoto as a young chef in Hawaii, where I grew up. We bonded quickly over our love of fresh fish, big flavors and new cooking techniques," says Chef Yuhi. "Through working alongside him at a variety of events throughout the country, I have been inspired by him and his approach to cooking and am thrilled that it's come full circle."
Previously, Chef Yuhi was executive chef at Patina Restaurant Group's New York City-based, Sea Grill. A protégé of Chef Ed Brown, who established the restaurant as one of the top seafood destinations in the city, Chef Yuhi has also worked at New York's Bar Basque. He lived and worked in Spain at the esteemed Echaurren with Chef Francis Paniego, at Casa Solla with Chef Pepe Solla, and at Gaminiz with Chef Aitor Elizegi. He held posts at the Michelin-starred restaurants Eighty-One and Alain Ducasse at the Essex House.
Known for his modern cooking style, Chef Yuhi draws inspiration from his Japanese heritage and upbringing in Hawaii, where he learned to cook from his grandmother. From her, he learned that the quality of the ingredients is as important as the technique in which used to prepare them. Over the years, he has developed techniques that keep the food simple, yet full of flavor.
"Being a great chef comes from within and I know Chef Yuhi is dedicated and passionate to creating inspirational, world-class dishes," says Chef Masuharu Morimoto. "I am confident that he will continue to showcase his talent and vision to our guests at Morimoto Asia."
Morimoto Asia is Chef Morimoto's newest and first Pan-Asian style restaurant. The menu is an eclectic take on some of Chef Morimoto's favorite Asian flavors including L.A. barbecue kalbi ribs, pad Thai, Peking duck, Chinese-inspired sticky ribs, sweet-and-sour whole fried fish and Singapore laska noodles. Chinese dim sum includes items such as dumplings, shumai, shrimp har-gao, and grilled chicken bao.
The restaurant also includes an intimate 14-seat sushi bar offering unique ocean seasonal specialties from Japan and around the world. A variety of specialty sushi rolls, sushi platters and seafood towers featuring highlights from the raw bar are also offered to guests not seated at the sushi bar.
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