Coffeebar is extremely pleased to announce the hiring of our new Executive Chef, Nicholas Hernandez.
Born with a passion...
Nicholas is an award-winning professional chef and ice sculptor in the Reno/Tahoe area with a tremendous resume of cooking experience and knowledge. Born and raised in Westchester, New York and of Puerto Rican and Italian descent, Chef Nicholas developed a passion for the culinary arts at a very young age. He first began working in professional kitchens at just 13 years old, and went on to pursue his career at the famous SUNY Delhi culinary school, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. His areas of concentration included hospitality and business management, culinary restaurant competition and ice sculpturing. During his years at SUNY Delhi, Chef Nicholas was a member of the Delhi Culinary Arts Team, as well as a member of the SUNY Delhi Olympic Youth competition team and the SUNY Delhi ice carving team.
Competing in the American Culinary Federation, the largest culinary group in the world, Chef Nicholas won multiple single person and team competitions as both a culinary competitor and ice sculptor, and captained a Hot Food Team that placed third at the ACF National Championship. Nicholas credits his work and experience through the ACF with exposing him to many incredibly talented professionals who helped bring him to where he is today. After he graduated in 2008, Chef Nicholas competed in one last major culinary competition, at Las Vegas' MGM Grand, where he was selected as one of just four chefs in the United States, representing the entire East Coast as Northeast Regional Champion, to compete for Student Culinarian of the year.
Developing a lifestyle...
Chef Nicholas' professional experience is extensive and impressive. He has worked under 14 different Certified Master Chefs throughout his career, at a number of highly renowned restaurants throughout the United States, from New York to Colorado, to Las Vegas to Reno/Tahoe, in positions from line cook to executive chef. Currently, Chef Nicholas is based in Tahoe and runs his own custom private chef business, The Dinner Bell LLC, where he acts as both Executive Chef and owner. It was in that role that Chef Nicholas first worked with Coffeebar, providing food at several of our monthly wine tasting events. Nicholas also works as a personal chef for North Tahoe catering, a high-end catering company in the Tahoe area, and is a professional ice sculptor for Tahoe Ice Sculptures, which makes custom ice, ice bars, luges and various sculptures for a range of events. In 2014, Chef Nicholas placed 2nd at the Truckee Winery Ice Sculpting Competition, and in 2013 he won 2 gold medals at the Northstar Food and Wine competition: one for his ice sculpture, and another for "best paired dish," for his Tapatio Tequila paired with Shrimp Gazpacho.
Chef Nicholas' professional experience and background speak for themselves, but what truly sets him apart is his deep passion for culinary arts, and his extraordinary vision. Chef Nicholas desires to create a magical experience through food, and each of his dishes is carefully and creatively crafted, with purpose, artistry and love. He brings a flavor and style that is all his own, and his unique approach, in combination with his leadership and team-oriented mentality, make him an exceptional match for Coffeebar.
A perfect pairing...
Chef Nicholas says he is thrilled to begin working with Greg and the Coffeebar team to take the culinary experience at Coffeebar to the "next level." Nicholas' culinary practice is rooted in searching for the best quality, local and organic ingredients he can find, and combining them in innovative ways to "create something beautiful." He seeks to share his lifelong passion through his authentic signature dishes, and he says Coffeebar provides an ideal avenue to reach out to people in this way. Chef Nicholas will be creating all-new menu items in addition to weekly specials for Coffeebar, including fresh salads, soups, a variety of Italian style sandwiches, and more. Nicholas' dishes will be inspired by the freshest local ingredients available, with a focus on 'zero waste' throughout the culinary process.
Coffeebar owner Greg Buchheister says Chef Nicholas will be a fantastic addition to the Coffeebar team, and help the business fulfill its goals to provide not only the best coffee but also the best culinary and customer service experience possible for its customers, in an inclusive community with a unique Italian style atmosphere. Buchheister says Nicholas' mission and ideals as a chef line up perfectly with those of the Coffeebar team, from his focus on sustainable practice and the use of local and organic ingredients, to his innovative style in creating stand-out dishes, to his exceptional passion and enthusiasm to be the best at what he does everyday, and to share that gift with as many people as possible. Through his extensive experience, well-rounded professional skill set and top-notch techniques, Chef Nicholas truly embodies the idea of "Sprezzatura" that lies at the heart of Coffeebar.