Welcome to my life. Take a look at the information to find out how it all got started and find out about my restaurants, past, present and future.
“If it was easy everyone would do it. The cooking is the easy part. This is not a hobby it is my life!” – Chef Nick
Nick Alicea (Chef Nick) was born in an all Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, surrounded by every ethnicity and culture imaginable.
This is where he began his love for great food.
While other kids were watching Sesame Street, Nick was mesmerized by the Frugal Gourmet and Julia Child. He practiced cooking with his grandmothers every chance he could.
“Being from an Italian and Puerto Rican family, food always was, and always will be, the centerpiece for every event”. – Chef Nick
Chef Nick officially began his culinary career at the French Culinary Institute in NY City, being taught by master chefs, Jaques Pepin, Julia Child, Jaques Torez, and Alain Selack.
Graduating so young, dumb, and full of talent, he bounced around some of New York’s greatest restaurants of the time.
“I learnt, stole, and worked with some of the best chef’s in the world.” – Chef Nick
In 1995- Chef Nick began to hone his skills throughout Manhattan at some of New York’s best restaurants, and learning from the world’s finest chefs.
He worked at restaurants such as the River Café, La Grenouille, Top of the Sixes, and Keens Steakhouse.
“This is where I learned what it means to be a Chef- the dedication, hard work, long hours, and the sacrifice” – Chef Nick
Chef Nick left New York to begin his life as a nomad, which would continue for the next decade. He learned the culture and cuisine from all over the world and learned to cook with a global inspiration.
He spent several years in Copenhagan, Denmark, while also working in Sweden, France, and Holland. Chef Nick honed his skills in places such as Spiseloppen and Base Camp.
“Being overseas changed the way I would think forever. We take a lot for granted in this country and to see it from the other side of the fence was enlightening to say the least.” – Chef Nick
Chef Nick returned to the States in 2005, and spent several years working his way along the Florida coast – from the Keys to South Beach, to West Palm.
Working as a private chef to celebrities and athletes, Nick utilized the culinary skills he had obtained internationally while working for one of the most exclusive catering companies.
“Cooking alone began to get mundane. With no experience or training, I decided to see how far I could get in the front of the house- just for shits and giggles. First job was assistant food and beverage director for Intercontinental Hotels, not bad. From there I was off and running, eventually being Chef and General Manager for multiple operations.” – Chef Nick
In 2008 Chef Nick spent the year in Texas, where he made the switch to working as a food and beverage director, hanging up the chef coat, and putting on a suit and tie.
He perfected the skills of management while working for Intercontinental Hotels (now Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel) before making his next move to Georgia.
Chef Nick moved to Atlanta, where he ran multiple properties such as Geisha House, Ten Pin Ally, and Dolche Group.
He was then hired to take over BLT Steak where he became the General Manager and Executive Chef, receiving multiple awards, including the Four Star Four Diamond Award.
“Watching this video again was a flashback to the beginning of it all” -Chef Nick
Chef Nick decided to make his move to the North Georgia mountains where he settled in Dahlonega, Georgia (just north of Atlanta).
He took over Yahoola Creek Grill and began to expand the business. In two short years, by adding additional seating, catering, and onsite events, Chef Nick doubled revenue and made Yahoola Creek Grill the must-stop destination restaurant in North Georgia.
With Yahoola Creek Grill running well, Chef Nick was ready to start a new and exciting project in the old Dahlonega jail – “The Yard”.
Years of different uses of this space had hidden the enchanting original aesthetics of the building. Chef Nick’s goal is to revive and restore the history of this establishment and create a fun prison-themed dining experience.
“I knew when I started 2018, it would be the biggest sacrificing year of my life, and God was I right. I started the year with not owning any businesses, by August 1st, I am owning four. Not bad for a punk ass kid from Brooklyn.” – Chef Nick
Chef Nick has added another ‘Signature Restaurant’ to his growing empire. Bellies & Butts Barbeque is now home in what was once a Standard oil station. He wants to offer a place where you can come eat with your family and then stay and hang out playing pool or watching the game.
” This used to be a Standard Oil station and I want it to have that classic gas station look, that classic feel when I’m done renovating.” – Chef Nick
Chef Nick’s hospitality management company, E.H.Far. He is building a network of businesses and growing his staff throughout the town.
To Be Continued……..