Chef Nobu Matsuhisa: “When my Alaskan restaurant burned, I’ve tried to kill myself…”

They say that “nothing brings people together like good food”, unless, if you are the glorious Japanese celebrity chef and restaurateur Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa.

His childhood was difficult as he lost his father when he was eight years old but after a visit to a sushi restaurant as a child, changed his mindset and he decided to become a sushi chef.

Now, he is the owner of 50 “Nobu” restaurants in all over the world, including Cyprus, where I had the honor to meet the legendary chef and talk about various things.

Interview

A: Anna Krith

Ν: Nobu Matsuhisa

A: Hello and welcome to Cyprus.

N:Hi! Thank you so much for joining the master class. Hope that you have enjoyed it!

A: Well, yes! I have to admit that I was not a big fan of sushi but after the master class, I became one.

N: Sushi is my culture and Japanese know how to eat sushi and fish in general. However, in order to make a good one, it only takes 10 fingers. Everything you are doing you need to make it with your heart.

A: So, you are the guru of sushi and that talent was identified by notorious actor Robert De Niro who pursue you to open a restaurant in Manhattan. I think that it all started in 1988.

N: Yes, that’s right. In the beginning, I didn’t know who he was, but he was coming to eat sushi at my restaurant in Los Angeles. One day, he invited me in New York, and he showed me his Tribeca building and told me to open another restaurant in the city. I wasn’t ready for that as my team and I were not organized yet, to do something like that. Robert, didn’t push me and every time he was in Los Angeles, he was coming to my restaurant. My restaurant was in all of the newspapers and magazine, so people started to talk about it. Four years later, Robert called me again, and he proposed to me again, to open another restaurant in New York and so I did! I trusted him and he was really patience, so I said yes!

A: …And now, you have more than 40 “Nobu” restaurants, around the globe.

N: Actually, I own more than 50 “Nobu” restaurants and also, I have more than 13 “Matsuhisa” restaurants! And now, Robert is coming to my franchise and eat sushi. Every time, I open a new one, he is coming for the ceremony.

A: Which celebrity is your favorite one, whenever he visits one of your restaurants?

N: A lot of famous people are coming to restaurants, especially at the “Nobu Malibu” in Los Angeles. Just like, Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, Madonna. My restaurant team is arranging the reservations for them. They don’t contact me in advance.

A: I know that you have a good relationship with Brooklyn Beckham, the son of David and Victoria Beckham.

N: Yes, he is a really nice guy. I knew him, before he even born! I used to hang out with his parents in London. Brooklyn, invited me to he was wedding in Miami, but I couldn’t go and I was in Japan. He called me to one of his shows, and told me to come as a guest to teach him, how to do sushi rice and roll. He, even, came to my house and we cook together. Indeed, he is really talented, and we exchange messages through Instagram.

 

A: Regarding your Instagram account, I have noticed that you don’t blend business with your personal one…

N: Yes, I don’t like to do that. You know, it is my private account, and I don’t want to post business things.

A: And now, one last question. Who is the person who gave you a second chance?

N: Maybe, God. When my Alaskan restaurant burned, I basically lost everything, my money, my passion and my mind. I even, tried to kill myself but my wife and my two kids were there and pray for me. Basically, my mind was dead but one day, my kids were screaming and that moment I realized that I had to wake up myself. My family and God saved my life! We need to learn from our mistakes! This is my way!

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