Nobu a wel­come friend at ta­ble

Wanneroo Times - - Let's Eat - Carmelle Wilkin­son

IT is not ev­ery day you get to meet your food hero.

So when I had the op­por­tu­nity to sit down with Nobu Mat­suhisa re­cently (fa­mous for the Nobu restau­rant chain he co-runs with ac­tor Robert De Niro), there were stars in my eyes.

Fa­mous for blend­ing tra­di­tional Ja­panese dishes with Peru­vian in­gre­di­ents, the highly ac­claimed chef is much more than a house­hold name.

Dressed in grey slacks, white chef's shirt and New Bal­ance sneak­ers, the 69-year-old greeted me with a warm smile and friendly hand­shake.

Palms sweaty and head slightly spin­ning, you'd think I was sit­ting down with Ed Sheeran – but to me, Nobu equally de­serves the rock star sta­tus.

With more than 40 restau­rants world­wide, Nobu has had the plea­sure of cook­ing for Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ters and roy­alty, but this sushi chef isn't fazed by fame or suc­cess.

His driv­ing force? Hav­ing pas­sion in all he does and cook­ing from the heart.

“You have to have pas­sion your life,'' he said.

“Peo­ple make mis­takes, yes. But never give up. Don't be afraid to take on a chal­lenge.”

It seems this fight­ing spirit and de­ter­mined at­ti­tude is what cat­a­pulted Nobu to the top of the restau­ra­teur food chain.

He en­tered the world of cook­ing work­ing as an ap­pren­tice in a sushi restau­rant in Ja­pan when he was 17, but his love af­fair with food was ig­nited at a much younger age from watch­ing his mother in the kitchen.

Nobu ad­mit­ted to en­joy­ing Chi­nese, Ital­ian and Greek cui­sine, but when trav­el­ling (some­thing he does very often) he loves to in­dulge in a country's lo­cal food.

I tell him I re­cently vis­ited Nobu in Cape Town and his face lights up, say­ing what a beau­ti­ful city that is.

He goes on to tell me he opened an­other Nobu – this time in Ibiza.

The joy he has when talk­ing about his pas­sion is ob­vi­ous and in no time it feels like I'm sit­ting down with a good friend I haven't seen in a while. It's this warmth and ease which one feels upon walk­ing into a Nobu restau­rant, where staff greet you with a hearty “Irasshaimase” mean­ing wel­come.

Nobu tells me that ev­ery New Year's Day he in­vites his staff and friends over for a big cel­e­bra­tion at his home in Los An­ge­les.

“I do a BBQ and I run the sushi bar my­self,'' he said.

Of all the peo­ple Nobu has cooked for, he wishes he had the chance to cook for his fa­ther.

“My fa­ther died when I was seven and I never got to cook for him. I wish I could cook for my fa­ther,'' he said.

Our con­ver­sa­tion flows from what he eats when he comes to Nobu (it changes depend­ing on what he feels like) to what food he would never eat (snakes, ap­par­ently).

We joke about how I hold chop­sticks and af­ter a les­son from the sushi king him­self, my chop­stick grip is one of a pro – no, not re­ally, but it's get­ting there.

Nobu was in Perth last month for the spe­cial event “A Night with Nobu” at Crown Tow­ers.

Nobu head chef Leif Huru said guests were treated to a se­lec­tion of Nobu-in­spired canapes such as yel­low­tail jalapeno with yuzu soy and wagyu carpac­cio.

They got the chance to meet and greet Nobu and en­joyed a se­lec­tion of qual­ity food and bev­er­ages.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Nobu Mat­suhisa still cooks with pas­sion. www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d450959

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