Chef Says Robert DeNiro is Hands-Off Partner in Upscale Japanese Restaurant Chain

Celebrity Japanese chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa said Wednesday that actor Robert De Niro, his partner in the upscale restaurant chain Nobu, is a hands-off partner.

"He likes to eat. He likes to drink. But he never stays in the kitchen," Matsuhisa said of De Niro at a press tasting.

Asked if De Niro makes culinary suggestions, Matsuhisa said De Niro doesn't. "He's a good partner. He understands my philosophies. He trusts me 100 percent about the food," he said.

Matsuhisa said De Niro focuses mostly on acting but occasionally gets together with him to discuss Nobu's business.

He said he hopes De Niro will attend the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong branch of Nobu in February.

Matsuhisa said the Hong Kong restaurant, the chain's 17th branch, will feature largely the same menu as Nobu restaurants elsewhere in the world, but that he may create new grilled abalone and shark's fin dishes, both popular delicacies in Hong Kong.

Nobu restaurants are also located in New York City, Milan, London and Tokyo.