Chef Spotlight: Nick Sutton Executive Chef, Boleo and Vol. 39

For this week’s Chef spotlight, Food News Today has the opportunity to interview Nick Sutton, Executive Chef, at Boleo and Vol. 39 for our Q&A.

Chef Spotlight: Nick Sutton Executive Chef, Boleo and Vol. 39
Photo credit: Colin Beckett

What or who inspired you to become a chef? My culinary instructor in high school saw something in me and I found something that I was good at.

What has been your biggest challenge as a chef? Being away from my family as much I am. 

Where did you go to culinary school or how did you learn to cook?

I went to technical high school that offered this for 4 years and then went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

What is your specialty? Being diverse, having a great hand for the finesse, but also being able to reach out and customize flavors from different regions. 

What trend do you see for 2017? I see the charcuterie taking off with more chefs trying to do this in house, while also being as farm to table as possible.

What’s your favorite dish? This is a pretty deep question, but if I focus on the Vol.39 Menu I would say the smoked lake trout with house made pickle and creme fraiche. 

What’s the strangest thing that we would find in your refrigerator? My refrigerator is very kid friendly with yogurt sticks, Gatorade and sweet pickles. That’s the kind of the food group in my house.

What’s your favorite city to eat at in the world? I haven’t traveled a ton but New York City for sure. I ate at WD50 and Per Se and also the French Quarter in South Carolina, where I dined at Fig, Husk and McGrady’s.

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What advice do you have for culinary students or aspiring chefs? Give all you have and work hard, bring a sense of urgency because that is something that isn’t taught and just try soak up as much as you can once you have learned everything in a restaurant it might be time to move. I wouldn’t stay any longer than a year when you’re starting out.

If you could cook for anyone, who would that be? There’s a laundry list of chefs out there that I would love to cook for, but I think the one that hits home would be my grandpa. He never really got to experience me as a chef. I regret that.

More About Nick Sutton:

Nick Sutton grew up in Massachusetts, where he learned to cook as a child, laying the foundation for his education at a culinary-focused high school from an early age. He moved to New York after high school and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. Returning to the Boston area after culinary school, he worked on the lines of several different restaurants, but kept his sights set on a city with a more highly developed culinary scene. Sutton moved from Boston to Chicago where he first staged at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant and then at Tru (James Beard Award for Outstanding Service, 2007). In his two years at Tru beginning in 2003, the time spent apprenticing under Chef Rick Tramonto (James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest, 2002) turned Sutton toward fine-dining and, after just eight months, he was promoted to Sous Chef. In 2005, Sutton transitioned to a role as Executive Chef of Chicago’s iconic Pump Room restaurant, a position he held for five years. Since 2010, he’s honed his high-volume dining operations skill set as Executive Sous Chef at Chicago’s Sheraton Hotel and Towers and then as Executive Chef at Food for Thought’s large-scale special events catering arm. Now, as Executive Chef of Boleo and Vol. 39, respectively, Nick Sutton draws on his experience at fine-dining kitchens to create eclectic menus for the two different concepts. At Boleo, his take on Argentinian and Peruvian street fare will draw heavily on the fresh herbs, chiles, and spices that are characteristic of South American cuisine. With Vol. 39, Sutton spins Old World-inspired small plates, including charcuterie, artisan cheeses, caviar and crudos to showcase the attention-to-detail he has spent his career refining. When he’s not at work, Nick plays golf, brews his own beer, and, most importantly, makes the most of his time with his wife and kids.

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