My Life In Food: Nobu Matsuhisa

 

After stints working in restaurants in Japan, Peru, and America, Nobu opened his eponymous restaurant with actor Robert De Niro in New York in 1994. He now has 24 restaurants, over five continents, including Nobu London, which celebrates its 15th birthday this month.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

My cooking is very simple, so I don't really use machines at all. A knife, cutting board, frying pan and strainer are my essentials. But if I had to choose one, I'd say my knife. I use a Masamoto, it's sharp like a samurai sword. I used to take a set of them with me as I went round the world visiting my restaurants, but now I keep a couple in all the Nobu restaurants. I only buy equipment that I need, so I don't have anything that isn't used.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I'd go to a Japanese supermarket near my house in LA and I'd pick up some staples. For me, being Japanese, that means rice. So I'd get that, some miso, some soy sauce and also some seaweed, and make a dish from that. If I could afford it, I'd also like some vegetables.

What do you eat for comfort?

I eat soup noodles for comfort. In fact, noodles of any kind. It's a food that is very easy to eat; it's very soothing and comfortable, too. If I could choose any, I'd say buckwheat was my favourite: it has a very good flavour and is healthy, too.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I like both potatoes and rice. You can do a lot with both of them. But if I could eat only one carbohydrate for the rest of my life I wouldn't choose bread, potatoes or even noodles. I'd go for rice instead; I eat more of that than anything else.

What's your desert island recipe?

Well, if I was on a desert island I'd have to keep things simple. I'm assuming I've got some fresh water. I'd mix that with miso and some dashi powder, to make a fish broth; it's a staple of Japanese cooking. Then I'd go fishing for fish to make into sashimi.

What's your favourite restaurant?

Near my restaurant in Milan, there's a place called Paper Moon. It is one of three across the world, the others are in Istanbul and Doha. I tend to go there for lunch when I am in town. I usually visit in September, which is white truffle season, so I order their parmesan and white truffle risotto – it's beautiful. It is a very good place – casual, simple and with very tasty food.

What's your favourite cookbook?

My favourite is my own vegetable cookbook, Nobu's Vegetarian Cookbook, which came out this year. I created it because people increasingly want healthy food. Sure, sashimi and, fish in general, are healthy, but vegetables are even better. I've tried to take the Nobu menu and translate it into recipes you can create at home.

Who taught you to cook?

I used to watch my mother cooking when I was a child, she influenced me a lot. But she certainly didn't push me to be a chef. The biggest influence on me was my first mentor, Mr Nakane. I met him when I was 18 in Tokyo and he taught me everything, how to buy fish, clean it, slice it and cook it.

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there