Hi! Thank you for visiting my blog! I wanted to give you some background about who I am and why I do what I do. Thanks for taking the time to meet the “Chef”!
Wondering where the name “Fresh Chef Nikki” comes from?
It all started in college:
Once upon a time my senior year of college at UC Santa Barbara, I spontaneously re-created my favorite dish I’ve ever eaten at Benihana- a sesame-crusted ahi tuna steak. I made seared black and white sesame crusted ahi tuna steaks with mango salsa and fruit bellinis for 2 of my friends. We even watched the sunset one spring night overseeing the ocean. This sparked a burning fire inside me to experiment in the kitchen and to channel my creativity into cooking. I’ve always had a love of cooking and baking as a means of spending time with my mom in the kitchen from an early age. I often wrote down recipes and came up with menus in my pretend restaurant (I still have copies!). I cook from the heart and have a restless, curious desire to learn how to make EVERYTHING in the kitchen from scratch.
The birth of the name “Fresh Chef Nikki”:
I earned the nickname and title “Fresh Chef Nikki” from friends. Why? Because I love cooking with fresh, bright ingredients and I rarely take shortcuts in my cooking. I make dishes (as close to) 100% from scratch as much as possible- I minimally use anything canned or processed. I believe in using fresh, real ingredients as locally as possible. My cooking style is heavily influenced by the beach-y vibes of SoCal that I was blessed to experience for my college years. What does that mean exactly? Brunch, fish tacos, and more brunch!
When I’m not “Fresh Chef Nikki”:
I’m always “Fresh Chef Nikki”- in and out of the kitchen! I work in corporate accounting and I like to mix business and pleasure by cooking for my teams and my clients! Nothing feels better to me than feeding friends and family (and even strangers!) and seeing their happy, satisfied reaction and hearing they want seconds! I’m an avid gym rat and EDM and rap music lover, too! I watch”Beat Bobby Flay” and “Brunch at Bobby’s” religiously. I cook, work, eat, sleep, work out, repeat.
Food Network Competition Fall 2016:
I am so blessed with the opportunity to compete at Food Network’s HQ this Fall 2016, since I’m the Round 2 finalist in the Food Network Chopped At Home Competition Presented by Sargento! I was challenged to make a Mexican dish using Sargento’s 4 Cheese Mexican Blend, corn tortillas, poblano peppers, and chicken thighs, so I made Mini Quesadillas with Tequila Lime Chicken & Poblano Crema Drizzle. See the submission: Food Network Chopped At Home Competition- Round 2 Finalist. I’m incredibly humbled, nervous, and excited. Follow me along my journey and training for Chopped! Follow along as I experiment with new cooking techniques, ingredients, and cuisines.
Keep it fresh!
-Nicole aka Fresh Chef Nikki