How Robert De Niro helped the chef achieve world fame

Robert De Niro is a Hollywood legend. The Oscar-winning actor has helmed many high-profile productions and enjoyed a lauded career. Although many fans know him for his work on screen, few know that the star is also a savvy businessman. Decades ago, De Niro teamed up with celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa to open his famous restaurant, Nobu. His success led Nobu Matsuhisa’s net worth to reach around $200 million, making him one of the richest chefs in the world.

Robert De Niro’s role in the rise of Nobu Matsuhisa

Robert De Niro and Nobu Matsuhisa in 2017 | George Pimentel/Getty Images

You’ve probably heard of the high-end restaurant chain Nobu. Its locations have hosted countless celebrities, including the Kardashian-Jenner sisters, Megan Fox, and Justin and Hailey Bieber. Its co-founder is Nobu Matsuhisa. And although he is a renowned chef, he did not find his success easily.

Matsuhisa started traveling the world at a young age. His travels exposed him to the cuisine of the world. Matsuhisa started working as a dishwasher in restaurants in Tokyo, Japan. He used his time at the Matsue Sushi restaurant to hone his cooking skills.

After working at the restaurant for almost a decade, one of the regulars invited him to open a Japanese restaurant in Peru when he was 24 years old. Matsuhisa couldn’t find any Japanese ingredients there, so he had to improvise. During this time he created and cultivated his fusion styles using Peruvian ingredients in Japanese dishes.

Three years later, the restaurant closed and Matsuhisa moved to Los Angeles. He worked in a Japanese restaurant for a year before opening his namesake restaurant in Beverly Hills. It wasn’t until 1988 that De Niro and Matsuhisa’s paths crossed.

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According Eater, the chef did not know the work of the actor. However, De Niro liked Nobu’s dishes so much that he quickly became a regular. A year later, the star approached Matsuhisa with a business proposal to start a restaurant together.

Matsuhisa said he didn’t want to open another restaurant due to his busy schedule. So De Niro dropped the subject and teamed up with Drew Nieporent to start Tribeca Grill. Four years later, De Niro brought up the topic again, and this time Matsuhisa was ready.

They teamed up with other industry elites to launch Nobu New York. The chef suspected De Niro of not expecting Nobu to be a hit, saying he thought the actor just wanted to enjoy Nobu’s meals in New York without having to fly to Los Angeles.

Nobu Matsuhisa’s net worth makes him one of the richest chefs in the world

Since its partnership with the angry bull actor, the chef has expanded his reach and opened 50 restaurants, including the Matsuhisa outposts. According rich gorilla, Nobu Matsuhisa’s net worth is $200 million. Along with standing atop a multi-million dollar restaurant empire, Matsuhisa has also made acting cameos.

In 1995 he appeared in Martin Scorsese’s film Casino alongside his business partner De Niro. He then had a small role in the 2002 spy comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember and appeared in Memoirs of a Geisha three years later.

Matsuhisa’s net worth ranks him number four on Wealthy Gorilla’s list of the world’s richest celebrity chefs. Gordon Ramsay is worth around $220 million; Jamie Oliver has $400 million in the bank; and Alan Wong has a whopping $1.1 billion fortune.

Although Chef Matsuhisa enjoys considerable wealth, his co-founder of Nobu is even wealthier. According to Wealthy Gorilla, Robert De Niro’s net worth is $500 million.

The chef has become known for his signature dishes and even a namesake sauce

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Two of Chef Matsuhisa’s signature dishes are black cod with miso and yellowtail flounder with jalapeño and sashimi salad. The latter is a favorite of many Nobu customers. The dish gets its delicious flavors from the chef’s signature sauce, called “Matsuhisa dressing”.

The dressing combines onions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, granulated sugar, sea salt, mustard powder, ground black pepper, grapeseed oil and sesame oil. Matsuhisa dressing goes well with various proteins, including fish, meat, and even tofu.

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