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Nobu Matsuhisa

The superstar chef, restaurateur and hotelier shares the elements of his magic cabinet and his favourite objects of delight and inspiration

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I do not have an antique cabinet where I keep the things that are most precious to me. My house is more modern in its look. I store such things on my bookshelves where I keep albums, my cookbooks and my watches.

I collect watches, only modern ones, from Cartier, Hublot,Rolex, Frank Muller, Patek Philippe. I do use them. I take a couple of watches with me every time I travel and set one of them to the local time when I arrive in a place.

 

 

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In the Japanese cuisine, soya sauces are the most important ingredients. Japanese food means raw fish that’s why I love wasabi sauce and I want to have it with me when cooking.

I have a sashimi knife that I love. I don’t have a lucky knife because I travel a lot and travelling with a knife is very difficult!

I always like a bento box which reflects the philosophy of A Magic Cabinet. Bento boxes are more suitable for carrying food especially lunch, they could be square or round and come with a cup. Every box hides a surprise. You never know what you can get, customers never know what they can get.

I always like a bento box which reflects the philosophy of A Magic Cabinet. Bento boxes are more suitable for carrying food especially lunch, they could be square or round and come with a cup. Every box hides a surprise. You never know what you can get, customers never know what they can get.

 

There is one thing I treasure and I have kept it for some time. Two years ago when I was visiting Mykonos, in Matoyianni Street I saw a painting of the famous painter Julian Opie. I fell in love with it at first sight, went inside the gallery, bought it and sent it to my house in Los Angeles. I love his paintings because he puts energy and colour balance in them like I do with my food.


I spend all my summer holidays in Japan, in my house which is situated one hour away from Tokyo. The nature is beautiful, there are a lot of mountains and hot springs. I take a two week vacation every August. When on vacation, I do not want to see anybody. In the mornings I exercise, have a massage, read books and in the evenings I stay at home. Every summer I can’t wait to visit this place and my body and mind are there as I work and travel ten months per year, this is my switch off time.

I have five houses: two in LA, one in New York, one in Tokyo and one outside Tokyo. The one in Bel Air is my favorite one since all my paintings are there. I’ve always loved paintings. I am a chef, meaning that my plate is white like a canvas and my foods are colourful like the colours applied on paintings. I learnt to put a mix of colours on the canvas. When I start cooking, I want the outcome to be full of colours and energy but perfectly balanced at the same time.

Talking of Greek food, now I am mostly interested in olive oils and I use a specific olive oil from a Greek producer in almost all of my restaurants. I am trying to support the young generation. In some of our restaurants, we have lounge bars where we use Greek olives.

I have a strong recollection of my mother. She used to cook very early in the morning and as Japanese houses are very small and the children’s room was very close to the kitchen, I could hear and smell everything. I used to wake up from the noise and the smell as my mother was cooking soups.

I don’t really have a lucky charm but if there is one, it is a bracelet designed by the Greek designer Minas, whom I met 15-16 years ago in Mykonos and gave it to me. 

 

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Nobu Matsuhisa, the famous Japanese chef, is a culinary legend.  Born in Saitama, he knew gastronomy was his calling from an early age, when his big brother first took him to a sushi restaurant. He approached his country’s famous dishes with a fresh outlook, inspired by his time in Peru.  His first restaurant, in Beverly Hills, opened its doors in 1987. His empire is now made up of 41 Nobu restaurants, 11 Matsuhisa, 10 hotels and another 10 that are under construction.

Contributors

25.07.2019

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Nobu Matsuhisa

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