The Hollywood Reporter's 20 Most Influential Chefs in Hollywood
When Matsuhisa started out in the restaurant business in the 1960s, it was hard to find sushi, even in Japan, believe it or not. But he loved it so much that he pursued his dream of running his own sushi place, moving to Peru, Argentina, Alaska and at last to Los Angeles, where, after 11 years of exceedingly hard work and virtually no profit, his gift paid off.
Now, in tandem with patron-turned-partner Robert De Niro, Nobu owns dozens of eponymous restaurants around the world. (The flagship is located at 903 N. La Cienega Blvd.) "Compared to the past, more people are familiar with Japanese food," Matsuhisa says of once-provincial Angeleno palates. "In the past 15 years, changes have occurred, and I think chefs from all parts of the world have been the key turning point."
His obsession with fresh ingredients -- honed by haggling with hard-headed fish merchants in Lima at age 24 -- helps distinguish him in an era where sushi is ubiquitous, as do such exemplary offerings as tiradito (a sashimi-esque Peruvian dish) and sashimi with dried miso.
What else Nobu eats: Ramen noodles.