The Chefs Without Restaurants Podcast – Episode 83 From NFL Cheerleader to Pop-Up Chef – Masako Morishita Brings Japanese Comfort Food to Washington D.C. with Her Pop-Up Restaurant Otabe

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On this week’s podcast, I speak with Masako Morishita. Originally from Kobe, Japan, Masako’s family has owned and operated a bar and restaurant there for 90 years, and food has always been a part of her life, though she never worked as a cook. Growing up, she was interested in dancing and cheerleading, and in 2013 she moved to Washington D.C. to be a NFL cheerleader for the Washington Football Team (formerly, the Redskins), and was even a captain in her fifth year.

She has always enjoyed cooking at home, and would regularly cook for her friends. Not able to find the food she grew up eating, in 2019 she decided to start Otabe, a pop-up in Washington D.C. that focuses on Japanese comfort food, which she hopes to turn into a more permanent endeavor. 

We talk about moving to, and touring the world with the NFL, the future of Otabe, a few of her favorite cookbooks, and of course, Japanese cooking including okonomiyaki, dashi and cooking with donabe.


Masako Morishita

The Otabe Instagram 

The Otabe Facebook Page 

Toiro Kitchen and Donabe

Donabe Cookbook 

The Gaijin Cookbook 





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