Nobu Matsuhisa recalls the beginnings of his career for Fortune Small Business, but of interest to us is his initial rejection of a partnership offer from Robert De Niro. I flew out to see the building he had bought a big, warehouselike place and stayed three or four days. He showed me the location again and started talking about the dream. But after all my bad experiences, I wasn't quite ready to take on another business partner. I agonized for a few days before thanking him and turning him down; he said he understood. And each time he visited L.A., he would stop by Matsuhisa and ask how I was doing. It would be another four years before the two would open Nobu. I started to think, said the chef, if he believes in me this much to wait for me all these years, then maybe he would be a good business partner.
How Chef Nobu Built His Sushi Empire [Fortune Small Business]