Faris Alrushud Riyadh
Hervey Courtot, a corporate chef at Nobu Hotels, spoke to Arab News Japan about his experience working with the renowned Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa for nearly 18 years.
Courtot, who is currently visiting the Nobu Restaurant in Riyadh, spoke about the most prominent features of the world-renowned restaurant.
The chef began studying cooking at a young age in a specialized school in France, where he learned French gastronomy under the supervision of top chefs for his desire to gain experience in this field.
According to Courtot, Nobu’s kitchen was a new world to him. The chef’s passion and admiration for the Japanese cuisine led him to learn and master it.
Courtot said that 20 years ago there was no significant presence of Japanese restaurants in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. In the past ten years, this has changed greatly as Japanese restaurants have started to spread significantly in the region, he noted.
The chef said he also thinks that in the coming years there will be new branches in other cities of the kingdom.
When asked to what extent Arab clients in general and Saudi clients in particular accept the Japanese cuisine, Courtot stressed that many Arabs and Saudis, particularly those who travel a lot around the world, have already tried Japanese food.
They can distinguish between high-quality and low-quality food, he said. When they have the chance to try Japanese food, prepared in the best way possible, many of them will be very pleased to have such an experience in their country, he added.
According to the French chef, the secret that distinguishes Nobu Restaurant from other brands that offer Japanese food around the world is that it is an international restaurant. It is a restaurant with branched around the world and it also cares about providing the best services.
Moreover, Courtot said that Nobu, which has nearly 50 branches around the world, imports fresh fish from several countries such as Japan, Spain, Alaska, Canada, Scotland and Greece. But all dried and liquid products such as ginger, sauces and soups are imported from Japan, home of the highest quality products in the world, he added.
When asked about the most popular dishes in Nobu’s Riyadh branch, Courtot said the dishes constantly requested by clients are the tempura, black cod and lobster. “Many clients are keen to eat these dishes and enjoy their special taste with their friends or families when they visit the restaurant,” the French chef explained.
The Nobu brand was founded by Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, Actor Robert De Niro and Producer Meir Teper. Since the opening of the first Nobu Restaurant in 1994, the name of Chef Nobu has turned into a world-class lifestyle brand synonymous with distinctive design, quality ingredients, energy and a true passion for service. The exceptional brand is also popular across the five continents, with more than 50 restaurants around the world.
Nobu Hotel Riyadh, the first in the Middle East, is in a strategic location in the Saudi capital on King Fahd Road, namely in the city’s centre. The hotel has a beautiful view of the capital’s high-rise towers. The restaurant officially opened in the hotel on Feb. 10 this year.
Nobu Restaurant was designed by Rockwell Group, an award-winning design firm. The interior design of the restaurant is unique as the walls were cladded with elegant wood in the form of fish skin, creating different corners for group dining in a design that creates a unique atmosphere that makes the guests enjoy the best international cuisine.