CHEF THOMAS BUCKLEY
Executive Chef of Nobu RestaurantS USA
We are so excited to partner with The Eden Roc and Nobu Hotel Miami Beach as PULSE Art Fair celebrates its 15th anniversary in Miami this December! Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your role at the hotel, as well as your professional journey?
Hailing from Brighton and Scarborough, England, seaside villages known for their fishing, I developed a passion for seafood during childhood. In 1991, I was given an opportunity to receive a classical French training from Chef Michel Bordin at the distinguished Connaught Hotel in London. I underwent a rigorous instruction during my three years there, and was ultimately rewarded by winning London’s Academie Culinaire award for pastry. In late 1998, I discovered Nobu restaurant a short time after returning to London, and knew that I had to be there from the moment I entered the Japanese eatery. I felt an immediate spiritual connection with Chef/Partner Nobu Matsuhisa, who encouraged growth from his sous chefs and welcomed their creative input, which is unusual in the megalomaniacal world of chefs! Since joining Nobu, I’ve had the opportunity to rise through the ranks from starting out as a Tempura chef to Executive Sous Chef of Nobu London followed by a move to Executive Chef of Nobu Miami in 2001. In May of 2012. I gained my current position as Corporate Executive Chef of Nobu Restaurant Group USA and worldwide.
What makes Miami so unique and why is it important for the Eden Roc and Nobu Hotel Miami Beach to partner with organizations like PULSE and to have a presence during Miami Art Week?
Though the weather, beaches and nightlife are Miami's major highlights, what sets Miami apart from the rest is its unique culture, diversity of people and tradition. The City has grown and matured over the years pushing food, arts and cultural activities to new heights bringing a great surge of interest to this unique place. The Eden Roc, being a part of the City and Art Deco movement for over 60 years, seeks great partnerships with events and organizations like PULSE to embrace, support and strengthen the bond between the new and old, tradition and innovation
How do you see your role evolving in our digital age? Has the rise of technology affected your presentation or the way you think about food?
Absolutely – information travels so fast that in our world there are no ‘secrets’ anymore – what’s new and unique is out there within moments, food has to be photogenic with the mindset that what you send to a customer may be broadcast to 1000’s of followers!
This is both good and bad – information overload and relevance in a rapidly changing landscape are always concerns, but then the broad access to information and ideas can lead to more innovation.
What’s your take on the interconnectedness of food and art? Are there any topics within either discourse that are of particular interest to you right now? Any trends you see coming?
The transference of energy to whatever medium you are working with leads to that interconnectedness – it’s the personal and divine intertwined at that level. Although not everyone works or thinks at this level where passion, commitment and the pursuit to please someone are combined through this transfer of energy.
The largest topic on the table right now is the changing planet and our role as caretakers for the next generations – art will take a slightly darker or political tone – chefs and others in the hospitality industry are seeing that Vegetarianism and Veganism will have a more solid place in society and on menus everywhere.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Always be passionate in what you do.
Where is your favorite place to relax and find peace of mind?
Sitting in the park, watching the ocean on a windy day — no one around.
What are you currently reading/watching?
Watching: Preacher / Succession / Last Week tonight with John Oliver - Looking forward to Joker and the last Star Wars movie!
Reading: ‘Heartmade’ by Atelier Amaro and ‘The Whole Fish’ cookbook by Peter Niland – both cookbooks and both with interesting points of view. The first is a restaurant in Poland that works with Micro seasons as opposed to the usual four, the second a young chef from Australia that utilizes all parts of fish and dry aging in the same ways that meat products are treated.
Check out our 1000 square ft oceanside restaurant at PULSE Art Fair this year, presented by Malibu Farm.