Chef Nobu Matsuhisa Gushes About His Friendship With Robert De Niro - Exclusive

While the most prolific and well-known celebrity chefs have undoubtedly crossed paths with many A-list stars, few can call a celebrity their friend and business partner. And though Chef Nobu Matsuhisa recently taught model Brooklyn Beckham how to prepare sushi, his relationship with actor Robert De Niro might actually be his closest. Lucky for us, Chef Matsuhisa discussed the decades-long partnership and friendship the pair share in an exclusive interview with Mashed.

Together, Matsuhisa and De Niro have launched the Nobu empire — including a number of restaurants and hotels, with a slate of openings scheduled for the next two years — but they did not reach such success overnight. "Well, the first time I met Bob was in 1988. Then, we started the business partnerships in 1994," Chef Matsuhisa explained. "He trusted my teams and the quality of food. Also, he's the best to understand and trust us," Matsuhisa added. And, given De Niro's lack of culinary experience at the time, the duo needed such trust to grow.

What lies ahead for the Nobu empire

For Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the support and belief that actor and friend Robert De Niro has had for the chef's ideas and concepts since the early days continues to be incredibly appreciated and is one of the most important qualities the pair shares. "He's a great person and good friend, and very important to our business together. We trust each other," the chef said. "He doesn't know anything about the cooking. So yeah, he trusts our quality of food and my teams." 

Now, the team has moved beyond their top-rated restaurants and are well into the expansion of their line of Nobu Hotels. "That's why every time I do some new project, we talk about it. Especially Nobu Hotel, we started the first Nobu Hotel in Las Vegas, Caesar's Palace, and this Nobu Hotel idea came from him," Matsuhisa explained. "Now, we have 13 more Nobu Hotels and expect another six to open in 2022. Another two hotels will open in 2023. It's a great partnership," the chef added. Clearly, there is no slowing the pair down anytime soon.