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One on One with Chef Nobu Matsushisa

The fusion cuisine pioneer on baby eel, Peruvian flavours and his first taste of sushi.

Nobu Matsushisa

Hometown Saitama, Japan

Home Base Tokyo and Los Angeles

Claim to Fame Heading up his 45 namesake restaurants and hotels in 22 countries.

Current Projects His book, Nobu: A Memoir, comes out November 7, and the first Canadian Nobu property – with a restaurant, hotel and residences – is slated to open in Toronto next year.

Just back from Spain. “I loved all of the angula (baby eel) dishes.”


When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
The first time I went to our local sushi counter with my brother when I was in my early teens, I was spellbound. The movements of the chefs, the sheen of the toppings, the aroma of the rice – it was the coolest thing ever.

After growing up in japan and starting your career there, what was moving to Peru like?
I instantly loved the flavours of Peru, so I started experimenting. Cilantro, citrus, chili peppers – I wouldn’t have imagined these ingredients at the sushi counter, but they worked! You see the results in many of the dishes that people now know as Nobu Style.

How would you rate inventiveness versus exactitude in your professional life?
They’re equal. When we’re inventing, anything is possible. But once we get it right, it needs to be consistent. There are Nobu signature dishes and Nobu Style cuisine – the signatures need to be exact and the style is something our teams around the world interpret to create new dishes.

East, West – do you believe such boundaries still exist in today’s culinary scene?
I’ve never seen boundaries in the kitchen. The foundation of my food is Japanese, but the most exciting thing about cooking, and eating, is exploration – how to combine flavours and make each bite an experience.

What are your favourite food destinations?
Tokyo is my home and my native cuisine, Miami has energy and international influence, Hawaii for the island flavours and fresh fish, and New York because it’s always looking for the next thing. I could keep going.

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