I shouldn’t be surprised. And yet, when I read that Nobu Matsuhisa — owner of the Japanese restaurant chain Nobu — uses Fiji Water to boil rice, I nearly laughed out loud. That was immediately followed by reverence for the power of branding; and lastly, slight depression over the mind-fuck given to the world courtesy of bottled water.
That glimpse into Nobu’s massive love for one of the fastest selling bottled water brands in the world came from an excellent article detailing the success and origin of the Fiji water label. Here’s a highlight:
Another golfer caught his eye and Gilmour watched as the man took a long drink from a European bottled-water brand. How bizarre, he thought, to come to a place like Fiji, where the water is famously pure, and choose to drink a European brand instead of the better and more available local stuff. Inspired, Gilmour founded a production company and signed a 99-year deal with the Fijian government to tap an ancient aquifer on the main island of Viti Levu. He called his brand Fiji Water.
Gilmour made sure that his product was right. He had already made a fortune from gold mining, and when he found the Viti Levu aquifer he realised he had struck it rich again. The aquifer is enormous, measuring more than 17 miles wide and 400 feet deep. The water within it fell to earth as rain more than 450 years ago, ensuring that it predates the industrial revolution and all its polluting effects. Great brands start with quality, authenticity and a great story.
Of course, as a recent Fast Company article pointed out, all of that pristine water being pumped and shipped around the world comes at a very steep price. To think it’s also being used to boil rice as well just completely blows my mind. As one person mentioned, if you’re not very specific at Nobu, you’ll be served Fiji water even before you’ve had a chance to request tap.
We’d recommend asking to hold the Fiji on the rice and whipping out your SIGG bottle for the table to enjoy. Sure, you’ll probably shock the upper-crust clientèle, but its your dining experience.
Go ahead, make a statement.