How Roku’s Latest Cooking Show Is Devouring the Competition – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

How Roku’s Latest Cooking Show Is Devouring the Competition

In the vast expanse of the universe, there are two undeniable truths: the sun will eventually burn out, and cooking shows will endure for eternity. Gone are the days of mundane hosts guiding us through basic recipes on television. Cooking shows have evolved into grand spectacles, filled with challenges, reality show antics, and elaborate productions. However, with the advent of smartphones, anyone can now cook in front of a camera. Modern audiences crave something more profound. Enter Morimoto’s Sushi Master, a culinary series that sets itself apart from the competition with its unique ingredients.

Morimoto’s Sushi Master is not just another celebrity-endorsed cooking competition. This show focuses on the art of Japanese cuisine, with the brilliant host Roku leading the way. With its six-part sushi showdown, Morimoto’s Sushi Master has struck gold. But why should you watch this series over anything else? Allow us to enlighten you.

First and foremost, this is the world’s first sushi competition. Cooking competitions are a dime a dozen, so each one needs a distinctive concept to captivate viewers. Morimoto’s Sushi Master centers around the most renowned Japanese dish: sushi. The show covers every aspect of Japanese cuisine, showcasing a group of contestants facing two challenges. The “Ikozue” challenge grants the winner an advantage for the more difficult “Kesshou” challenge. For instance, the winner might choose the type of fish to be used or assign a fellow contestant to cook with scorching hot peppers.

The first challenge tests the contestants’ sushi-making skills, while the second challenge only requires a dish tied to Japanese cuisine. From there, the show follows the typical format of a cooking competition, complete with winners, losers, humorous moments, and tantalizing close-ups of steaming food. The judging table is even designed to resemble a traditional sushi bar, a delightful detail that adds to the authenticity.

Rest assured, the contestants on Morimoto’s Sushi Master are highly skilled individuals. There are no amateurs or hobbyists here. Each contestant has undergone training in both Japanese cuisine and their own unique style. There is no unnecessary drama or infighting among the contestants; the competition is played out through their culinary creations. It brings back memories of the intense throw-downs seen in Iron Chef, with one contestant even reminiscing about the legendary series prior to the show’s inaugural challenge.

What sets Morimoto’s Sushi Master apart is the terrific host, Masaharu Morimoto himself. With 41 wins on both Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, Morimoto is the perfect fit to host and judge this delectable sushi fest. His unconventional approach to cooking earned him numerous victories in Kitchen Stadium, and this experience shines through in the show. The longer challenges presented in Morimoto’s Sushi Master aim to break the “sushi rules,” rewarding creativity and expression over tradition.

Joining Morimoto as co-host is Lyrica Okano, along with judges Kenji López-Alt and Dakota Weiss. Together, they share a similar perspective on sushi. The focus is on making this fishy delicacy both delicious and visually appealing. Sushi has often been associated with strict rules and precise preparation techniques. However, Morimoto’s Sushi Master emphasizes the versatility of sushi, catering to various diets and incorporating diverse ingredients.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Morimoto explains that sushi is often perceived as “difficult or mysterious” in the West due to its unique ingredients and seasonings. The show aims to dispel this notion and showcase the beauty and craftsmanship behind sushi.

Morimoto’s Sushi Master is an immersive experience that fully embraces its focus on sushi. The entire series is available for free on the Roku Channel, accessible on most devices. Don’t miss this opportunity to indulge in the captivating world of Japanese cuisine and witness the culinary mastery of Morimoto and his talented contestants.

There are two truths to the universe: the sun will eventually burn out, and cooking shows will always be around. We’re far removed from the days of talking heads walking you through recipes, with grandiose challenges, reality show shenanigans, and elaborate productions elevating what was one of the most simple concepts for a television show: cooking things in front of a camera. But, seeing as how just about anyone can do that with a device they carry in their pockets, modern audiences need something with a bit more depth to it.


Year recently threw its hat into the ring with Morimoto’s Sushi Masterand you might initially write this series off as another celebrity-endorsed competition. But this cooking series has a few secret ingredients that make it stand out above the competition. With a focus on Japanese cuisine and its brilliant host, Roku may have struck gold with this six-part sushi showdown. Why should you watch Morimoto’s Sushi Master over anything else, you may ask? We have more than a few reasons.

The World’s First Sushi Competition

Morimoto's Sushi Master cast

Cooking competitions are a dime a dozen, meaning each one needs a unique premise to both draw viewership and stand out from the crowd. If it wasn’t already blatant, Morimotos Sushi Master focuses on the most well-known Japanese foodstuff – “sushi,” or vinegared rice.

Literal translations aside, Morimoto‘s Sushi Master covers just about every base when it comes to Japanese food. Each episode depicts our group of contestants in two successive challenges: the “Ikozue” challenge comes first and grants the winner an advantage for the longer, more difficult “Kesshou” challenge. For example, one episode will see the winner determine what cut of fish will be used later on or pick who will be forced to utilize incredibly hot peppers in their dish.

Related: Exclusive: Iron Chef Morimoto Talks Sushi Master

While the first challenge primarily puts the contestant’s sushi-making skills to the test, the second challenge only stipulates that a dish be tied to Japanese cuisine. Otherwise, the contestants are able to make it as they see fit.

From there, the typical trappings of a cooking competition are here and accounted for: a pair of winners and losers, some humorous moments, beautiful close-ups of steaming food, and even a heartfelt message to those who are ultimately eliminated from the competition. The judging table is even put together to resemble a traditional sushi bar, being an unnecessary but appreciated detail.

You’ll also be glad to know that our contestants are competent in the kitchen as well. No amateur cooks or hobbyists here, as each and every contestant has training in both Japanese cuisine and their own individual styles. There’s no pointless drama or in-fighting, with the only blows exchanged between contestants being whatever they present at the end of a challenge. It brings back memories of the intense throw-downs found in Iron Chefwith one of the contestants even reminiscing about said series prior to the show’s first challenge.

Morimoto Is a Terrific Host

Masaharu Morimoto and Venoy Rogers III in Morimoto's Sushi Master

If the idea of a sushi-centric cooking competition doesn’t snag your interest, you may raise an eyebrow when you discover who hosts this raw competition. With a total of 41 wins across both Iron Chef and Iron Chef Americanone other than Masaharu Morimoto himself is both hosting and judging this savory sushi fest.

Related: Iron Chef: Here’s Why the Original Japanese Show Remains So Fun and Iconic

It’s a delightfully appropriate role for the former Iron Chef. Fans of his previous work will likely remember how his unconventional means of preparing dishes netted him several significant wins in his Kitchen Stadium tenure. It’s an appropriate fit, as the lengthier challenges found throughout are meant to, in his words, break the “sushi rules.” Creativity and expression are rewarded instead of adhering to tradition, which reflects his own experiences in the kitchen.

Hosting alongside Morimoto is Lyrica Okano, with Kenji López-Alt and Dakota Weiss on the panel of judges. Together, they all share a similar view of sushi. There’s an emphasis on making the fishy foodstuff both tasty and appealing, as sushi has built up a certain reputation of being a dish with strict rules and preparation requirements.

Instead of highlighting the fanciest sushi dishes, there’s an equal importance placed on how versatile sushi is with various diets and ingredients. An interview with Rolling Stone would highlight this further, with Morimoto attributing the perception of sushi in the West to it being “difficult or mysterious.” Because of its “strange ingredients and seasonings,” it comes off as something that would otherwise be unattainable to most.

But underneath the pounds of fish and cooked rice, there’s a beautiful appreciation for both the food itself and the work that goes into preparing it. You would expect a show focused on such a specific topic to go all out in its focus, and Morimoto‘s Sushi Master does it all in spades. The series, which recently aired in its entirety on the Roku Channel, can be watched for free with no strings attached on most devices.

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