Nobu's Celebrity Chef and Robert De Niro's Business Partner Visits Croatia: "I want your Adriatic tuna!"

By 7 March 2018

Japan's most famous chef and restauranteur of 'Nobu' fame wants a piece of Croatia's Adriatic tuna. 

Nobuyuki Nobu Matsuhisa, the most famous Japanese chef in the world, was a guest of the business-gastronomic event 'Japan Fusion in Kali,' reports Slobodna Dalmacija on March 7, 2018.

The event, which takes place in Kali on the island of Ugljan, is organized by the most prominent tuna breeder in Croatia, the Kali Tuna Company, and its owner Jiro Kambe. The event marks 25 years of friendship between Croatia and Japan, the diplomatic relations between the two countries, and the beginning of business cooperation with the world's largest sushi restaurant chain 'Nobu.'

Chef Nobu landed at the Zadar Airport on Tuesday morning by private plane. By boat, he visited the Kali Tuna Farm and then actively participated in a gastronomic feast prepared by the leading chefs of the three London 'Nobu' restaurants and those in Monte Carlo, Moscow, Budapest, Dubai, and Moscow. On the Croatian side, tuna and other raw fish were prepared by eight hotel chefs from the association 'Adriatic Luxury Hotels.'

Jiro Kambe, the owner of 'Kali Tuna' and 'Toro Cro Maguro', under which he sells Croatian tuna to Japan and the world, discreetly organized this event by inviting guests of their business partners and associates from Japan, the USA, and Zadar. No politicians were allowed to attend, and only the Japanese ambassador to Croatia Keiji Takiguchi and the mayor of Kali Marko Kolega were present at the ceremony. Kolega pointed out the importance of this event and called the business success of Kali Tuna the most critical company in Kali, which has made a small island town widely known. Thus, Kali Tuna has won an exceptionally high position on the Japanese market.

Meanwhile, Jiro Kambe has drastically decided to change the way he does business: though part of his caged tuna continues to go to the Japanese market, he saw the possibility to sell to American sushi restaurants directly. Through this, he was first connected to California’s 'Mikuni; chain and is now ready to supply a significant amount of top quality, properly cut and stored tuna meat to the 'Nobu' chain of restaurants and hotels on five continents.

Nobu described the bluefin tuna on Tuesday:

“The quality of Croatian tuna is excellent, and I want to have it in my restaurants. Mr. Kambe is a good friend, and we are already using his tuna in Japan, at our Tokyo restaurant. Now we are trying to introduce it in all of our other restaurants. Tuna is a specific ingredient that needs to be carefully transported to maintain its freshness, and the problem lies in the different import regulations in the many countries we have restaurants.”

Nobu then demonstrated how to prepare sushi, sashimi and other simple rice and tuna dishes, although, unfortunately, there was no time to make some of their original signature meals.

The icon of world gastronomy boasts a business empire that has 47 restaurants in almost all significant metropolises and seven top category hotels, with his longtime friend and business partner, the famous actor Robert De Niro. Nobu’s widespread publicity became known due to his friendship and partnership with the renowned actor which he continues today, and with two other partners to complete the 'Nobu' empire. In addition to the common 'Nobu' chain, the Matsuhisa family has five family restaurants, one of which is in Munich. The nearest Nobu restaurants to Croatia are located in Budapest, Milan and Sveti Stefan.

Also, the 'Nobu' business empire includes seven luxury hotels in the most popular destinations in the world. Five more will open this year, one of which will be completed in Barcelona.

What is characteristic of this famous chef is the innovation and creation he uses to upgrade Japanese cuisine - otherwise, he has profoundly diversified and created an imaginative Japanese traditional cuisine. The dishes created by Nobu are authored as part of the world's best gastronomy because they are built with unlimited imagination and ideas. Nobu has fostered Japanese gastronomic tradition with the tradition and experiences he gained in other countries, especially in Peru and Argentina, where he worked as a young chef for several years.

Nobu has an incredibly exciting resume: as a seven-year-old, he was left without his father, then worked at a restaurant in Tokyo after school where he was persuaded to open a restaurant in Lima. After the partnership collapsed, Nobu opened his first restaurant in Alaska, which burned to the ground in an accident. In 1977, he moved to Los Angeles and worked at the Japanese restaurants 'Mitsuwa' and 'Osho,' and in 1987 he opened his own 'Matsuhisa' restaurant at La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. The restaurant quickly gained the status as the most crucial pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles and was visited by many famous Hollywood people, including Robert De Niro.

The famous actor and Nobu quickly became friends, after which De Niro forced the chef to open a restaurant in Tribeca, New York, to be closer to him. In 1993, his first restaurant opened which today serves as a workplace for chefs. The empire began to spread across America due to the extraordinary popularity of Nobu's preparation and presentation of native Japanese food. Nobu's restaurants later opened in London, Qatar, Greece, Dallas, Tokyo, Honolulu, Moscow, Dubai, Mexico City, Doha and Hong Kong, Beijing, Johannesburg, and more, and franchise agreements open his restaurants around the world. The first 'Nobu Hotel & Restaurant; is located at the 'Ceasers Palace' hotel in Las Vegas.

Nobu always points out that he is still inspired by his mother's kitchen and cooks with his heart. He adds that everyone can learn to cook, but that the most important thing is to cook with the heart.

Translated from Slobodna Dalmacija