As one of the youngest Executive Sushi Chefs in the Nobu family, Chef Ryo Hasegawa is known for his creativity and unbelievable visual presentation skills. While he makes it look effortless, Chef Hasegawa has actually been perfecting his inventive approach since his youth in Niigata, Japan, where his culinary curiosity inspired him to begin training at his uncle's sushi restaurant at age 18. Nobu-Style recently sat down with Chef for an 8-course sushi bar Omakase and a bit of insight into his days behind the sushi bar at Nobu New York City, Nobu Next Door and now, Nobu Downtown.
N-S: What’s your favorite ingredient to work with or favorite dish to make?
RH: All sushi dishes are my favorite to make, but my favorite to eat is nigiri.
N-S: We notice that you use a lot of truffles in your dishes – what is your favorite way to incorporate them?
RH: I really like to use both black and white truffles when they are in season. We store them like most other vegetables or ingredients, but they add a very special, earthy flavor to dishes. My favorite way to use them is to add shaved truffle as a garnish to sushi and sashimi dishes.
N-S: What’s the best lesson Chef Nobu ever taught you?
RH: Chef Nobu taught me how important it is to always have passion and heart. That’s why making customers smile is my favorite part of working at Nobu.
N-S: You recently moved from the original Nobu in Tribeca to the new Nobu Downtown in Manhattan's Financial District - what is your favorite part of the new location?
RH: The new space at Nobu Downtown - especially the bar & lounge - is really beautiful and inspiring. It is something you don't often see in Japan - a sushi bar inside of a cocktail bar. I have been inspired to create many more off the menu dishes at Nobu Downtown. Also, the sushi bar in the dining room downstairs is right near the hot kitchen, so we can all collaborate – sushi chefs and hot kitchen chefs together.