NOBU: Chef Nobu Matsuhisa Featured

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  • Saturday, 29 May 2021 17:46
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NOBU: Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, known as “Nobu,” is the critically acclaimed chef and owner of Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants, which have received rave reviews from such publications as The New York Times, Zagat Survey, and Michelin Guide. Chef Nobu currently has 41 Nobu Restaurants, 11 Matsuhisa Restaurants, and 10 Nobu Hotels in 48 different cities around the world, spanning six continents.

Born in Saitama, Japan, Nobu apprenticed at a popular sushi bar in Tokyo before opening his own sushi bar in Peru. After three years in Peru, Nobu moved to Argentina, then home to Japan, followed by Alaska, and finally Los Angeles. In 1987, Nobu opened Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills, California, which attracted both food lovers and celebrities—including actor and director Robert De Niro. De Niro, Nobu and restaurateur Drew Nieporent jointly opened the first Nobu restaurant in New York City in 1994.

In addition to the numerous accolades received by his restaurants, some of Nobu’s personal honors from the culinary community include: America’s 10 Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine (1989); Southern California’s Rising Stars by Los Angeles Times Magazine (1998); induction into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation (2002); nomination for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006); Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award in Japan (2007); One of the 11 Most Influential Chefs of the Decade by Madrid Fusion (2009); and Peru Tourism’s Goodwill Ambassador Award (2010). In 2014, Nobu released his Japanese autobiography, The Smiling Faces of My Guests Mean Everything, which was translated into English and published in 2017 as Nobu: A Memoir.

Broiled Black Cod with Miso

Ingredients:(serves 4)

  • 4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound (230 g) each 3 cups (800 g)
  • *Nobu-style Saikyo Miso
  • 1 stalk **hajikami per serving
    • Method
    • 1.Pat the fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with Nobu-style Saikyo Miso, place in a nonreactive dish or bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to steep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
    • 2.Preheat the oven to 400˚ F (200˚ C, gas 6). Preheat a grill or broiler. Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets, but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish on the grill, or in a broiler pan, and grill or broil until the surface of the fish turns brown. Then bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
    • 3.Arrange the black cod fillets on individual plates and garnish with hajikami. Add a few extra drops of Nobu-style Saikyo Miso to each plate.
    • This recipe also works for beef, toro (fatty tuna) and salmon.

    *Nobu-Style Saikyo Miso


    • Sake
    • 3⁄4 cup (150ml) mirin
    • 2 cups (450g) white miso paste
    • 11⁄4 (225g) granulated sugar
    • Method
    • 1.Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol..
    • 2.Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste, mixing with a wooden spoon. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon to ensure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
    • Yield: 3 cups (800g)

    **Hajikami (Ginger Pickled in Sweet Vinegar)

  • Method
  • Remove any sand and debris and cut the ginger into 6-inch (15-cm) lengths. Briefly plunge the ginger into a pot of boiling water to which rice vinegar has been added (1 tablespoon per 1 quart/liter water). Drain and sprinkle thoroughly with sea salt. Let cool to room temperature. Leave for 12 hours to pickle in ***ama-zu which has been diluted 100% with water..

***Ama-Zu (Sweet Vinegar)


  • 8 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Method
  • Heat the rice vinegar, sugar and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from heat immediately. (Do not leave on the heat any longer, as the acidity of the rice vinegar will boil off.) Cool to room temperature.
  • Yield: 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (220 ml)
  • tj

    The complete article can be found in Issue #280 of the Tokyo Journal.

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