FACT CHAT: It wasn’t a secret that producer, actor and Academy Award-winner, Robert de Niro and master chef Nobu Matsuhisa, paid a visit for the opening of their upbeat restaurant, Nobu last month. Publisher Edward Smith caught up with both stars for an insight on the long-awaited opening.
Hi! What can you tell us about this much-anticipated new venue in Doha?
Chef Nobu: So now we finally have the Nobu Doha! I’d like to introduce our staff and of course, our food with such a spectacular setting for the restaurant. What can I say? Introduce more of my food!
Robert De Niro: I’d just say: come, it’s good food!
Chef Nobu, is this your first time in Qatar?
Chef Nobu: No. I’ve been here a couple of times before, maybe four times. We have restaurants in Dubai, so I jump on over here to check that everything is ok.
What are your thoughts on Doha’s culinary scene?
Chef Nobu: I know very little about it. Every time I come here, it’s all about Nobu and re-grouping with the staff and making sure the project is heading accordingly.
You both share a long-standing friendship – what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about or from each other?
Chef Nobu: I learn from Robert all the time. He always has new and different ideas to mine – unique ones. If it’s an idea we like, we go on with it. I don’t know if he learns from me!
Robert de Niro: Not much!
Nobu has been four years in the making – what’s the process been like?
Robert De Niro: It was four years since I pitched him the idea and for the restaurant to be ready. It took about a year to come up with the concept, build the restaurant and so forth. It was a logical amount of time for all the steps to get to the finishing point.
Robert, what made you enter the restaurant business?
Robert De Niro: I created Tribeca Grill, and partnered with Drew Nieporent. He had a good restaurant at that time, probably a three-star one for New York standards in Tribeca film center. I thought he could be of help for Tribeca Grill.
Any plans of opening Hotel Nobu in the Middle East?
Robert De Niro: We are! In fact in Riyadh and Bahrain. We’re also opening one in London, Miami and a lot of other places.
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