Iron Chef's Japan fundraiser draws hundreds, nets thousands - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Iron Chef's Japan fundraiser draws hundreds, nets thousands

Chef Masaharu Morimoto Chef Masaharu Morimoto
James Idemoto James Idemoto
Sarah Sutherland Sarah Sutherland
Raiatea Helm Raiatea Helm

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A sellout crowd showed up to help out in one of the many fundraisers for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. While Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and his food were a big draw, the cause was the main attraction.

People stood patiently in line to get in, while inside Morimoto Waikiki, it was time to mix, mingle and enjoy the food prepared by Chef Morimoto. The event was co-sponsored by Hawaii News Now and Ohana Broadcasting, and raised more than $100,000.

While the dining was great, there was one big reason why everyone showed up.

"First and foremost, to support Japan. Definitely," said James Idemoto.

"I have been in Hurricane Iwa and Hurricane Iniki," said attendee Sarah Sutherland, "and it doesn't touch the profoundness of the distress I see in those people and -- I might cry, but -- I just really know they need help."

Hundreds helped just by buying a ticket. They also got a chance to bid on silent and live auction items.

There also was entertainment, including musician Raiatea Helm, who was in Japan with the quake hit.

The iron chef himself was having a good time, but was also extremely busy, personally manning the sushi bar. He had said that while his family was safe in southwestern Japan, he still had many in his native country that he wanted to help.

One hundred percent of the proceeds went to the American Red Cross Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami relief fund. And everyone said that is what made it easy to decide to spend some big money on a weeknight.

"No question at all, as soon as we saw the commercial on television, we made reservations and we're here," Peter Sutherland said.

"It is definitely a full house," said Idemoto. "It's not surprising, because Morimoto's has the brand, but it's good to see the support out there." There were 350 people attending, which is the restaurant's maximum capacity.

While the mood was festive, it may have been because some good was being done for people thousands of miles away.

"I just wish I could go over there and pick up every piece of wood and get everybody back on their feet as quickly as possible," Sarah Sutherland said.

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