Nobu Matsuhisa, known for his eponymous empire of restaurants and hotels, has built his name on quality. While he has a global team, he still spends much of his year on the ground and in the kitchen. WAGFG Editor-in-Chief Georgia Moore caught up with the iconic chef on his recent visit to Nobu Perth.

You get out beyond your own restaurants when you travel. What’s your perception of the current food scene in Western Australia?

When we first opened here, it was very difficult to get fresh fish, but twelve years later, I can see that people appreciate good food and come to Nobu restaurant for that. The restaurant scene reflects that people are enjoying fresh produce and elevated dining more.

We are so pleased to see Glacier 51 toothfish on your menu – do you have a favourite way to prepare it? Is there a Glacier 51 dish on the current menu here at Nobu Perth that you’re especially happy with?

I love to prepare our Umami Glacier 51 toothfish. The Nobu concept is not to waste anything – broccoli stems, peels of carrots, we use it all to make a vegetable paste. It’s about being sustainable. After this, we slice the Glacier 51 toothfish, and marinate it in the paste so that the vegetable enzymes soften the fish, and the umami flavours soak into the fish.

How do you move past your mistakes, and how would you recommend others do so?

Don’t fret about challenges, even if you make mistakes, you just have to learn from them. In my life, I’ve had ups and downs, but I am very happy to be where I am. It’s thirty years since the first Nobu opened, and our teams have grown like family, and I’m very happy to be travelling all over the world to see my ‘kids’. If there’s something you want to do, just do it. If you don’t try, nothing will happen. In cooking – this applies to using a knife, using fire, using grills. And you might find a new way of doing things.

What motivates you? Has that changed over the years?

Travelling and visiting all our teams and seeing the technical and personal growth of all our staff. This truly makes me happy and motivates me to travel to each location.

Have you seen a difference in the core motivators in young chefs from say 20 years ago to now?

There are a lot of young people who are hungry. As the world changes, I recommend they keep trying challenging things. Don’t lose out on chances in front of you, concentrate on what you’re doing. Our Head Chef at Crown Perth, Ping, was once an apprentice in our kitchen!

Is there any philosophy you implement in your kitchens around the world, or advice you give to all of your chefs?

Like in a movie, there is a main actor and supporting actors. In Nobu as a concept, I’d like the supporting actors to be main actors. That means we don’t waste anything and use a lot of produce, meat, vegetables, fish, wherever we can.

What are the Nobu Perth kitchen planning do to with Black Manjimup truffles this year?

We are still working on this year’s menu and are using my visit to come up with some new dishes. Personally, I love steamed fish with fresh truffles.

Last year I took my son to Kamakura, and we had the most magical day on the sand, eating a Japanese riff on mapo tofu and tried shirasu which we loved. What do you think of the West Australian beaches and what would you choose to eat on the beach?

The beaches here are beautiful! I love to eat Australian oysters.



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