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PEOPLE

Taikoo Place Insiders: Chef Mori Tomoaki

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The Hong Kong born-and-bred Mori-san found fame as a sushi chef, with eager fans enduring a year-long wait for a chance to experience his creative omakase. Chef Mori’s new Quarry Bay spot, Major Seventh, is more than just a restaurant launch–it’s the start of a new chapter in his culinary career. Chef Mori sat down with us to talk about fish, flavours, and the excitement of creating a menu that showcases his cross-cultural heritage.

What do you think is the most important quality of any great sushi chef–experience, personality, manual skills, character…or something else?

There’s no single thing, a sushi chef has to be well rounded – you have to be able to carry on a conversation with the client, keep good hygiene. Of course experience is important, as well as creativity and the desire for continuous improvement.

Imagine that you were about to lose the ability to taste all flavours except one – which would you choose: sweet, sour, bitter, salty or umami?

The only one I wouldn’t be able to lose is umami, it’s the most important.

Your dad is a very famous Japanese kaiseki chef, and your mother is from Hong Kong where you were born and raised. How does it feel to have a new restaurant, Major Seventh, where you can draw from both sides of your culinary culture?

Growing up in Hong Kong, I also really enjoy Western cuisine, and as a Hong Kong chef, I have an open minded approach to Japanese food. At Major Seventh, I wanted to go beyond sushi and try something new. The name “Major Seventh” is a reference from music – on a guitar, it’s when you add one note to the regular major chord to get a whole new, unique sound. That’s what we’re doing here, adding an element to traditional Japanese cuisine to present something new.

When I go to a cha chaan teng I always order…

Stir-fried beef noodles, “gon chau ngau hor”.

Tell us about your most embarrassing moment ever in a kitchen (restaurant or home)

When I was a young chef, I made all kinds of mistakes, like forgetting to add water when cooking rice. The worst part was that customers would have to wait while I corrected these mistakes.

In Quarry Bay, you’ll usually spot me eating lunch at…

Tulsi Indian Restaurant. They were previously Michelin recommended. I really enjoy curry.


Sake, champagne or moutai?

Sake, but I like champagne too.

Name three people (living or dead, from anywhere in the world) that you would be thrilled to host for omakase

My late master.
My father, in fact, he should be coming next month.
My two daughters, when they’re older.

The biggest challenges that I’ve encountered running a restaurant in Hong Kong is…

There’s a lot of competition; there are always new Japanese restaurants opening. Finding young talent trained in sushi or Japanese food is also quite difficult. Some of our new staff were originally trained in Western cuisine.

My great obsession–besides food–is…

Honestly, nothing, is that weird? I just love food.

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