Nicolai's journey went from chef to chef in tech. But it began rather unexpectedly. It started while studying engineering at Sacramento State, Nicolai realized his true aspiration was to become a chef.
This realization led him to Boston's No 9 Park, where he apprenticed under his first mentor, Barbara Lynch. He credits Barbara for not only giving him a strong foundation, but for encouraging him to hone his skills abroad. In love with Barbara's pasta, Nicolai would later move to Piedmont, Italy before spending several more years in Spain. There he cooked under renowned chefs Juan Mari Arzak and Joan Roca, but also amongst grandmas, families, and charcutiers, learning traditional cooking methods from charcuterie to paella. At Fundacion Alicia, Nicolai cooked with scientists and worked alongside nutritionists under the direction of Ferran Adria and Pere Castells. Spain deeply influenced him and to this day is Nicolai's second home.
In California, Nicolai worked under David Bazirgan at The Fifth Floor. Afterwards, he moved to Australia to run a tasting menu only restaurant, Sage. He then returned to California to take the helm at The Battery, a private social club in San Francisco.
Most recently, Nicolai launched Ferdinand's Paella, a small membership based food pop-up. And throughout the week, he focuses on helping restaurants, hotels, and hospitality groups realize what modern software tools can really do for their businesses at Mustard Seed Hospitality.
12 January 2021 | Season 1 | 51 mins 35 secs
boston, chef, cooking, learning, paella, people, sacramento, spain, waffles
In this episode, Skipper talks to Nicolai about being a chef, what the future holds for the art and science of cooking, as well as what he's doing during the pandemic