Shin Tsujimura, the sushi chef who worked at Nobu, Nobu Next Door, and Nobu 57 for nearly twenty years, passed away yesterday. "Anyone who has dined at Nobu New York, Nobu Next Door, or Nobu 57 has experienced the craft and skill of our beloved Sushi Chef, Shin Tsujimura," Myriad Restaurant Group said in a statement. "He was one of the original guys," restaurateur Drew Nieporent tells Grub Street. "He's been with us since Day One."
The chef was in his fifties and leaves behind three children; the cause of his death has not yet been announced. He had come to New York from Hatsuhana in Tokyo, and worked briefly at the Manhattan outpost of that restaurant before joining the first team at Nobu in 1994. "He carried himself with a great deal of dignity," Nieporent tells Grub. "He worked very, very hard for very many years. He left quite a legacy in terms of the whole family of Nobu."
Tsujimura was known for his regulars — loyal patrons who knew him for years. "At the very beginning the restaurant had no reputation," Nieporent recalls. "He was very instrumental in building the whole clientele." One of those dedicated customers was Andrew Zimmern, who wrote a post in honor of the chef who fed him "like a son." He remembers: "Shin had a huge smile, an amazing laugh and was one of the best people you will ever meet. He had the biggest hands I have ever seen and they were always soft in the way all great sushi masters have soft hands. He was a legendary chef on two continents."
In Memory Of Our Great Friend & Colleague, Shin Tsujimura [Myriad Restaurant Group]
Celebrating the Life of a Legendary Chef [Andrew Zimmern]