Chef Nick Wallace, an undeniable culinary leader, continues to represent Mississippi with excellence. Thrilled by a challenge and drenched in creativity, Wallace is single handedly redefining the southern dining experience in his own words. Wallace has served as Executive Chef at several elite establishments throughout Jackson creating standards and a world-class experience wherever his Cast Iron skillet lands. In addition to his culinary charm, Wallace prides himself on investing back into his community. In 2016, Wallace founded Creativity Kitchen for Jackson Public School students. Creativity Kitchen was designed to educate Jackson Middle School scholars about home-grown food production, Expose scholars to farming, gardening, nutrition, food preparation techniques and culinary cuisine. Overall, this program motivates scholars to select healthier food choices while planting the seed of culinary. From snagging a win on The Food Network’s Chopped series to creating lavish feast for monumental moments in Mississippi, Chef Nick Wallace needs no introduction. Check out my latest Chat with Chef Nick below:
Chef Nick Wallace is a powerhouse in the world of culinary. Please share how you received your start. My grandmothers, Queen Morris and Lennel Donald gave me my start. I give them credit for being able to recognize my talents and the passion in my heart for culinary arts, which has been there since before birth.
What are some of your specialties?
My specialty is being able to combine my family farm origins with sophisticated French techniques. I also work closely with local farmers so I know that my fruits and vegetables are fresh and clear of preservatives.
Name 3 restaurants that you would advise visitors to check out when they visit MS?
We all feel entitled to bragging rights after your win on Food Network’s fan favorite, Chopped. What was the most nerve wrecking part of your experience and the most enjoyable?
The most nerve wrecking part of my experience on Chopped was when I cut my finger. I missed a lot of time with the medics, and waiting for them to go through the necessary medical procedures before I could get back to the competition. I kept thinking about how far behind I was getting.
The most enjoyable was the entire experience. It gave me the opportunity to do what I love and what I’m passionate about in an environment that was very challenging. I also enjoyed making history when I won Chopped Champion, as I am the first chef from Mississippi to do so, and in the final round when no chef got chopped and we all made it to the final round. That has never happened in the history of Chopped.
MS gathered in support of you for a watch party the night that the show aired. It must have felt amazing to witness that type of unity.
It was amazing to witness that type of unity. But even more greater was the way everyone was enjoying one another. We had a lot fun together.
What are somethings we can do together as a city, to help flourish each other’s goals and dreams? Something that we can do together is just to come together more and support one another. When someone in our community succeeds we all succeed. The more one person grows, they should be willing to share their experiences with others around them, and to help them grow and move forward in life.
What is something that Chef Nick must have in his kitchen at all times?
A cast iron skillet. I must have a cast iron skillet in my kitchen at all times.
What advice do you have for aspiring cooks and chefs?
My advice to aspiring cooks and chefs is to learn and understand how different flavors work together. I would tell them not to be scared to try new things and to be innovative when it comes to culinary arts.
Who is your greatest influence?
My grandmothers, Queen Morris and Lennel Donald are my greatest influence.
What would you like to see more of on Jackson’s culinary scene?
I would like for more restaurants to work with our farmers in order to prepare foods that are free of preservatives and come straight from the farm to the table.
Are there any projects or events that you would like to share?
One of my greatest projects is Creativity Kitchen. Through Creativity Kitchen, I am able to provide better tasting and healthier food for our scholars in the Jackson Public School System. I also partner with various organizations like the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi and we work together to provide healthier food choices for our community.