Friday, May 12, 2006

Cannibals in Arizona

When I first saw the cover of the latest issue of New Times, I did not think much of it. It shows chef Kazuki "Kaz" Yamamoto posing in a meat locker with a a baby seal's severed head.

As I read passed the parts about people pay tens and thousands of dollars to consume meat from exotic animals, it did not bother me a bit.

After all, I have had my share of jellyfish, sea cucumbers, shark fins, and variety of mystery meats.

New Times - Xtreme Cuisine
article link or pdf

The article did take a disturbing turn towards end, it says:

Placenta pâté has long been a part of Yamamoto's repertoire, but it's not the only human flesh he's willing to prepare for customers eager to experiment with cannibalism.

Yamamoto presented me with three plates, one with a slice of human liver sautéed with onions, another with a hunk of muscle torn from a human leg that had been deep fried, and a third of a side of poached hufu, a faux human flesh product that bills itself as the "Healthy Human Flesh Alternative".

As if these revelations were not bizarre enough, Yamamoto admitted that he has an unsavory agreement with some local mortuaries to harvest kidneys and other internal organs for him from children and teenagers who have died in car accidents. But Yamamoto's ultimate desire to prepare the most unthinkable of dinners is what really sends shivers down my spine.

"One day I hope I can cook whole Mexican," sighs Yamamoto. "Maybe baby Mexican that mother sell to me. Then I make for my good friend Jon Kyl. I know Senator will like to eat Mexican. He only likes Mexican when on his dinner plate." (more)

The best part of all this? I was reading this while eating at Filiberto's, a place that is rumored to serve stray animals on diners' plates.

Update: May 14, 2006 - Is Kazuki “Kaz” Yamamoto a Hoax?

Unlike The Onion, Phoenix New Times is not known to publish many satire articles. Also Yamamoto's client list does include several well-known locals and celebrities, if the story is real, I am sure themselves or their publicists would release statements.

In the original Phoenix New Times article by Stephen Lemons, it mentioned an interesting story about Kazuki Yamamoto and why he came to US. According to the article, Kazuki Yamamoto “accidentally” killed a man named Nabu Sato in 1999 while working at an Osaka sushi restaurant by serving him fugu (puffer fish) liver.

Although Yamamoto was eventually acquitted by Japanese court with help from attorney Bennie Matsukawa, Yamamoto was blacklisted in Japanese culinary world. The Mainichi Shinbun, one of the largest dailies in Japan, printed Yamamoto's photo and called for him to commit seppuku, or ritual disembowelment, in disgrace.

Since I read the article, I have contacted several friends including one journalist in Japan asking them to look for this particular story. So far nothing has came up.

I have also called Phoenix New Times (602-271-0040) as well as sent email to Stephen Lemons ( himself, no response from either.

Perhaps this is a publicity stunt to drum up business for Kazuki Yamamoto?

Update: May 21, 2006 - Stephen Lemons called and confirming this as a hoax. (Thanks to Matt Norwood for the mp3)


“[This is Stephen Lemons] just returning your call. Just want you to know that the article you have read is a spoof/satire/parody. About every year or so, Phoenix New Times does a spoof. This year, this is the spoof we did. Basically, none of the article is true, it was meant to be a satire. And you may want to let anyone to know that. Like I said, if you have any other questions, feel free to give me a buzz back at (602) 229-8426. Thanks a lot, bye bye.”


  1. oh man!
    good post as always =)

  2. "I fix her penguin liver pâté, with peppercorn and Armagnac. She stay with me the night and we make love for 15 hour, she love pâté so much. I love her long time. This before I have girlfriend."

    wait, this guy can't be for real...

  3. Is that a joke... or is this guy really gearing up to serve a baby?

  4. Unlike The Onion (, New Times, is not known to publish satire articles.

    Also Yamamoto's client list does include several well-known locals and celebrities, if the story is fake, I am sure themselves or their publicists would release statements.

  5. The New Times does a BS article or two every year... but they save 'em for the April 1st issue as an April Fools' joke. This article HAS to be a hoax, but I wonder why they're running it in May.

    -Shane (

  6. If you look at some of the photos thay look like badly photochopped fakes... The cactus photo and the ram photo come to mind

  7. Tim,

    The photos are irrelavent to the story. They may be altered to give the story a "cool" look.

  8. The Mainichi seppuku bit sounds absolutely false. This isn't 1860. Nobody dies by ritual disembowelment these days.

  9. "HuFu" went around the internet a while ago, I'm pretty sure it was discredited as a hoax. That doesn't make thy rest of the article look too good...

  10. Tian, I called the offices of The New Times, and swapped voice mail messages with the article's author, Stephen Lemons.

    Me: "Hoax?"

    Stephen Lemons: "Yes."

    Mr. Lemons elaborated that every year, each of the New Times offices does a spoof and that the "Extreme Cuisine" article was this year's Phoenix office contribution in that category.

    You can, of course, confirm all this for yourself by doing as I did, and calling The New Times at:

    (602) 271-0040

    I also posted about this article at my own hot steamy pile of blog:

    cannibals in our time.

  11. I'm surprised that no one posted that "Yamamoto's Fake Bad English" doesn't sound like that of a Japanese person whose English isn't that great. It sounds like when a non-Asian comedian tries to speak "Asian" English :(

    I am not surprised that this article was fake. After all, "We not all speak bad like that, yeah?" :P

  12. Yeah, exactly on the fake bad English! My (Japanese) boyfriend's English may break down now and then, but if he ever spoke to me like that, I'd slap him for taking the p***.

    He'd probably do it, though. Sense of humour a bit questionable at times, bless him!

  13. "Unlike The Onion (, New Times, is not known to publish satire articles."

    Actually, yes it is. The stories are few and far between, elaborately played out and written in the guise of a genuine article to prey on gullible sensibilities.

    Previous examples of hoaxes by the New Times:

    - An article about the effects and benefits of LSD told readers that the page story was printed on was laced, so that the reader could experience LSD firsthand by eating the page.

    - Another article announcing a free concert featuring prominent bands and musicians. Would-be concert-goers arrived at the venue to find... nothing.

    - Announcement of the discovery of a gold vein running underground beneath an upscale shopping mall, and that arcane mining laws dictated that members of the public could stake out a claim by lining up with their picks and shovels at the mall where a desk would be set up to receive the claim.


  14. Yes, it's a hoax. Please see my blog comment here: Spread the word.