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THE MASTER:
IN CONVERSATION WITH CHEF NOBU

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It wouldn’t be Crystal without having one of the most popular restaurants UMI UMA ,” said Senior Vice President Hotel Operations of Crystal Bernie Leypold in an interview last year. And we agree - no other chef on the planet demonstrates such an exquisite blend of innovation through Peruvian influence.

Written by

PAUL FEINSTEIN TRAVEL WRITER

PAUL FEINSTEIN

Published on Invalid Date

Celebrated chef Nobu Matsuhisa is behind the most exciting restaurant at sea: Umi Uma, his one-of-a-kind one-of-a-kind Japanese/Peruvian concept, exclusive to Crystal’s ships, serving up his showstopping dishes. Here, Chef Nobu reveals some of the secrets behind his exceptional food.

How would you describe the Umi Uma experience?

Umi Uma is a mix of homey, friendly, and comfortable, with really good food and service. It is a 60-seat restaurant, so not too big, and because it’s on a cruise ship, it’s homier – as you get to know the same customers every day. That means you get to make it more like a family.

What first attracted you to working with Crystal to create a restaurant concept at sea?

In the beginning, it was a big challenge for me. We had restaurants in cities, but we had never done it on a cruise ship because I worried about how I could get fresh products every day. But I brought the concept of Matsuhisa, with exactly the same menu and the same service, to Crystal, and little by little started to understand how it could work.

How did you go about finding that fresh produce?

When I go to another country I like to see the fish market and vegetable market. I like to find new products and bring them to the restaurant and start cooking. And, as much as possible, I try to use everything and not waste everything.

Can you talk a bit more about the concept behind Umi Uma?

In the restaurant business, the most important things are good food, good service, and good atmosphere. Design is an important part of that, too. I’m not looking for Michelin-style service at Umi Uma – it’s more casual, with good food and people eating while they’re comfortable.

Will you be cooking on any of the cruises? Can we expect to see you behind the counter counter at Umi Uma?

Of course. I go on cruises, and I’m a guest chef. I do cooking demonstrations, and I stay in the kitchen to create new dishes with the chefs. Cooking is my life.

Do you think you’ll ever retire?

I like to keep working and spending time with my team. I like to see my customers as much as possible. You know, life is beautiful. And I enjoy my life. That means no retirement.

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