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Chef Nobu Matsuhisa provides a local experience with a modern design in every venue. He transmits his concept as a curated individual experience where every property is different.

Nobu Hotels blend fresh modern luxury and minimal Japanese tradition into the concept of a lifestyle hotel. Nobu Hotels, Restaurants, and Residences interact together to provide Nobu products and services that share the common characteristics of unique Nobu food experiences.

Keep reading to find out more about Nobu Matsuhisa, a world-famous chef, icon of gastronomy, and pioneer of the Nobu brand.


Who is Nobu Matsuhisa?

Nobuyuki Matsuhisa was born in 1949 in Saitama, a city near Tokyo, where hisose parents had moved during the Second World War.

He became interested in the cuisine, watching his grandmother cook. At the age of 12, his brother allowed him to work in a sushi restaurant. After school, he took a job in a family-run sushi restaurant in Tokyo.


Nobu’s First Job

For several years as a kitchen assistant, he watched the chef selecting, cleaning, and serving the fish. It was until a sous-chef quit when he got promoted and had the opportunity to begin making sushi. This was his job for seven years. He learned to make sushi the traditional way.


New Experiences

At the age of 24, he moved to Peru due to a job offer from one of his regular clients. One of the first cultural impacts he had was the different sushi culture in South America. The food there was based on ingredients like lemon juice, ceviche, chili peppers, cilantro, olive oil, and tomatoes rather than just soy sauce and wasabi. It became the perfect time to start experimenting with different flavors.

He spent three years in Peru, and a new family member was born. In the business aspect, he started to have misunderstandings with his partner, which led him to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The business was not as predictable as he thought, so he and his family moved back to Japan.


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United States Adventure

Upon returning to Japan, he had an opportunity to open a restaurant in Alaska, which he took. The oil pipeline workers were regular customers, and there was little restaurant competition. The fish was not varied there, but a mixture of recipes and ingredients, the dishes were a success. Unfortunately, the restaurant burned to the ground. 

After this event, Nobu sent his family back to Japan, and he settled in Los Angeles on the advice of a friend. He took a job as a sushi chef in a small restaurant. After a few years, he brought down his family to LA.

In 1987, after earning his way back to solvency, he opened his own restaurant Matsuhisa on La Cienega.


Own Business

The first two years after opening Matsuhisa were difficult. But as he started importing fish from Japan, the clients noticed the difference on their well-served meals. 

Matsuhisa was an instant success and became a magnet for food lovers and celebrities alike. It was here that his longtime friendship and business relationship with Robert De Niro began. 

Robert De Niro invited him to New York to offer him a business partnership to open a restaurant there. But it was until four years later when Nobu Matsuhisa accepted his offer. In 1994, they opened Nobu New York. 


Nobu Restaurant Legacy

Today Nobu Restaurants are part of Nobu Hotels, covering around 15 countries all over the world. Japanese cuisine, in addition to a luxury lifestyle and wellbeing, is the brand signature of Nobu.

“The restaurants and hotels that bear my name, Nobu, are considered high-end, but they’re not exclusive. I wasn’t Nobu to bring smiles to our guests’ faces with the bite of food, to give them a place to relax, enjoy good conversation over, a great meal and leave happy”.

Nobu Matsuhisa.