Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa is a seasoned globetrotter. The 73-year-old helms more than 50 Nobu restaurants that serve his trademark Japanese-Peruvian cuisine since the chain started in New York in 1994 as a partnership with Hollywood actor Robert De Niro.
Nobu opened its Singapore outpost in June this year at the Four Seasons Hotel. Last month, Matsuhisa was in town to helm an omakase dinner and squeezed in a trip to Kuala Lumpur, where he has an outlet, before flying back to cook at the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.
Being a frequent flyer has become second nature to Matsuhisa, who shared with The Peak that he used to visit Los Angeles, London and New York on the same day. He took transatlantic flights on the Concorde, shuttling between his restaurants to check the consistency of his dishes and chat with customers.
Recalling his whirlwind itinerary, he says with a chuckle: “After working in London, I would catch the morning flight to New York, arrive for lunch and leave for Los Angeles in the afternoon. I never thought about being tired. Having jet lag is very normal for me.”
Like Matsuhisa, the Nobu empire, which also comprises hotels in more than 10 cities, is showing no signs of slowing down. Upcoming restaurants in Atlanta and Atlantic City in the United States are slated to open later this year, and an expansion to Thailand and Vietnam is in the pipeline. Last year, Nobu Hospitality, the global lifestyle brand co-founded by Matsuhisa announced a partnership with Asset World Corp, a Thai lifestyle real estate group to open multiple Nobu hotels and restaurants, include Nobu Bangkok in Empire Tower.