The New Paper
October 5, 2016
Hunky Japanese actor-chef Hayami Mokomichi likes it hot - his food, that is.
The 32-year-old, whose nickname is Moco, is host of TV cooking show Moco's Kitchen, which airs on GEM TV (Singtel TV Ch 519) every Tuesday at 10.10pm.
He was in town to film an upcoming episode on Singapore food and confessed to loving spicy food.
"If I were an ingredient, I would be chilli, because I am always chasing after the spice in life," he told the media in Japanese through an interpreter at an interview-cum-tea session at Fairmont Singapore yesterday.
True to his word, Mokomichi enjoyed the curry puffs The New Paper recommended, among other treats such as Nonya kueh, rojak and pandan cake.
"Japanese people love curry, so this is a very familiar flavour for me. It's oishi (delicious)," he told TNP.
On Sunday, Mokomichi met 100 of his fans at an exclusive meet-and-greet session at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Lucky fans took part in a cup-stacking game on stage, and won autographed Moco's Kitchen aprons which were tied around their waists by their idol, making the members of the audience squeal with envy.
Mokomichi has been starring in Japanese dramas since 2002 and rose to fame with roles on popular shows such as Gokusen 2 and Zettai Kareshi.
He also stars as a pretentious new teacher in comedy drama series Jigoku Sensei Nube, which will premiere on Oct 25 and air every Monday and Tuesday at 9pm on GEM.
Mokomichi, who is a household name in Japan, thanks to his popular cooking segment Moco's Kitchen on morning TV show Zip!, said he would be hard-pressed to choose between acting and his cooking show.
"Acting allows me to experience another person's life, so my fans can see me in different roles. But cooking also gives me a lot of satisfaction.
"When I show up on set to film a drama series, my co-stars will ask me more about the recipe I demonstrated on TV that morning. So cooking has become a way for me to break the ice with my colleagues," he said.
Mokomichi learnt to cook as a boy by watching his mother in the kitchen. He recalled struggling to perfect his spaghetti carbonara recipe, which took him over six months.
Since then, he has travelled to Italy to learn Italian cooking, and won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the Japanese cooking category with his cookbook, Moco's Kitchen, in 2013.
Mokomichi said he came here to film Moco's Kitchen as there has been an increased interest in Singaporean cuisine in Japan.
While he was here, he also enjoyed hawker dishes like hokkien mee and chicken rice, sampled Peranakan cuisine at Armenian Street, and learnt to cook chilli crab at Maxwell Food Centre.
Asked about his favourite local dish, he said: "It was really hard to pick as I enjoyed everything, but I was inspired to create my own dishes, like chilli crab paella."
As for his personal life, Mokomichi said he would prefer a girlfriend who does not cook.
"It's okay if my girlfriend can't cook," he said.
"In fact, I think it is better if she doesn't, as we might end up competing with each other, and that would affect our relationship."
This article was first published on October 4, 2016.
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