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March 10, 1949
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March 10, 1949
Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa (松久 信幸 Matsuhisa Nobuyuki; born March 10, 1949) is a celebrity chef and restaurateur known for his fusion cuisine blending traditional Japanese dishes with South American (Peruvian) ingredients. His signature dish is black cod in miso.
Nobu was born in Saitama, Japan. When he was just seven years old, his father died in a traffic accident and he and his two older brothers were raised by his mother. After graduating from high school, he worked at the restaurant Matsue Sushi in Shinjuku, Tokyo for seven years, and was invited by a regular customer who was a Peruvian entrepreneur of Japanese descent to open a Japanese restaurant in Peru. In 1973 at age 24, he moved to Peru (Lima) and opened a restaurant with the same name of Matsuei in partnership with his sponsor. Nobu was unable to find many of the ingredients he took for granted in Japan and had to improvise, and it was here that he developed his unique style of cuisine that incorporated Peruvian ingredients into Japanese dishes.
He later moved to Alaska, USA and opened his own restaurant, which failed almost immediately due to a fire that destroyed the restaurant.
In 1977, he moved to Los Angeles and worked at Japanese restaurants "Mitsuwa" and "Oshou", and in 1987, he opened his own restaurant "Matsuhisa" on La Cienega Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The restaurant quickly became a hot spot and was frequented by Hollywood celebrities, including Robert De Niro, who invited Nobu to set up a restaurant in Tribeca, New York. In August 1993, the two opened up in partnership NOBU to critical[clarification needed] acclaim. Nobu restaurants were later opened in Milan, London, Greece, Dallas, Tokyo, Honolulu, Moscow, Dubai, Budapest, and Hong Kong.
Nobu's friendship with De Niro landed him a role in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film Casino, as a wealthy businessman who was a guest at De Niro's casino. He also had small roles in Austin Powers: Goldmember, as well as Memoirs of a Geisha, where he played a kimono artist.
The Matsuhisa Restaurants (in Beverly Hills, Aspen, Athens and Mykonos) are privately owned by the Matsuhisa family, while the Nobu Restaurants are co-owned by Nobu, Robert De Niro, Meir Teper, Drew Nieporent, and managing partner Richie Notar. Nobu Matsuhisa also co-owns Nobu Hospitality with Robert De Niro and Meir Teper. The first Nobu Hotel & Restaurant located inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is currently open.
In the United States:
In June 2009, Matsuhisa was presented with an award from the Japan Society for his achievements in food culture.
Nobu restaurants sell bluefin tuna, a species now internationally recognised as endangered. As a result from press and campaigning pressure, they offered to add a warning on their menu, however this was considered inadequate by conservationists to help the spiral of demand and market price that leads to overfishing.