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Nobu: The Cookbook    by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa order for
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Order:  USA  Can
Kodansha International, 2001 (2001)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Though Nobu: the Cookbook is impressive in its own right, it's made more so by an introductory letter from Robert DiNiro to the chef and a Foreword by Martha Stewart - well-earned accolades. In his introduction, chef Nobu says, 'I always put something special in my food - my heart or kokoro as we say in Japanese - and you, of course, must put your heart into your own cooking.' I could quote all his words of cooking wisdom, but I think you must read Nobu's entire introduction yourself. This is a man who lives and loves to cook. And he's willing to share his expertise with us.

Nobu started earning his cooking stripes early in life. After high school, he worked in a sushi restaurant in Tokyo as a dogsbody. He learned the business from the ground up - shopping for fresh fish with the master, cleaning, running errands, tenderly slicing the fish. Whatever needed to be done that wasn't actually preparing food was his life for two years. Then he started preparing the sushi and never looked back. He's worked in Tokyo, Lima, Peru, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Anchorage, Alaska, Los Angeles and New York. Today he has a number of restaurants and has been named one of the ten best chefs worldwide. His delight in serving good food to appreciative diners hasn't diminished. And, for us, best of all, he is willing to share his wonderful recipes. Beware the cookbook's photography. It will have you drooling and reaching for your chopsticks. Planning your next dinner party will be a snap with these glorious photos in front of you. And that's just the appearance of the food. The recipes will knock your socks off.

Using the freshest ingredients and Nobu's skill at preparation, you too can produce these wonderful dishes and take all the credit for a fine meal. Nobu will be there in spirit, watching happy people indulging themselves with his food. Abalone with Wasabi Pepper Sauce looks artistic with its wealth of color and textures. Grilled Scallops with Tabbouleh Salsa is a dish fit for the gods. Karuma Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce offers a tiny mountain of colorful, succulent ingredients. Everyone knows of Chilean Sea Bass, but Nobu's Black Bean Sauce makes it a dish, sadly, you haven't tasted before. This is an extraordinary cookbook produced by an extraordinary chef.

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