Masako Morishita is the first Japanese woman to helm the kitchen at Perry’s restaurant in Adams Morgan and has quickly turned the local spot into a critically-acclaimed destination for Japanese comfort food.
An Atypical Path
Morishita came to D.C. to be on the Washington Commanders cheerleading team, where she worked for five years (even becoming captain) before getting into cooking. “I learned a lot of relevant skills as captain because it was all about managing the team.” said Morishita. “For a chef, it’s 20% about cooking, 80% that other stuff.” Before Perry’s, she ran a pop-up and was the executive chef at Maxwell Park.
Morishita’s family has run a restaurant in Japan for over 100 years, and she wanted to bring those flavors to D.C. “I learned about cooking from my mom and grandmother. My food is a modern twist on what I miss eating in Japan.”
Udon Carbonara at Perry’s. (Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman)
Taking Local Inspiration
The food you find at Perry’s is anything but cookie-cutter Izakaya food. Morishita uses lots of non-traditional ingredients like cheese, olive oil, or maple syrup to make it fun. She also pulls inspiration from local seasonal ingredients. For example, during the summer, she served a roasted peach dish with tamari, rosemary, whipped ricotta, and plum maple syrup. She also whipped up fried squash blossoms with miso creamed corn.
Where in DC is Morishita Eating?
Morishita’s favorite is 2Amys Pizza. “I call 2Amys my church. A lot of industry people go there,” she said. Her other choice is Sushi Taro, which she said was foundational in establishing her career. “There are not many female Japanese chefs, but they really tried to include me and teach me. And of course, their food is great!”