Chef Wayne Nish has amassed an impressive culinary resume on his path to becoming chef/co- owner of his acclaimed New American restaurant, March, which he opened in an elegant turn-of- the-century midtown Manhattan townhouse with his partner, Joseph Scalice, in August 1990. He is a world-renowned chef who has created an innovative approach to New American cuisine.
Nish comments on his innovative multi-cultural dishes and the continually changing seasonal menus he has created at March: "My culinary vision for March is to create a cosmopolitan menu that is global in scope and transcends national boundaries. My cooking continues to be inspired and influenced by different ethnic cultures yet is transformed into my own original dishes. There is an increasing attention being paid to food representative of American cuisine on a world stage as the assimilation of different ethnic groups occurs, creating a cosmopolitan society. My menus at March reflect this world view."
Nish's unique culinary vision was formed during his years growing up in New York City. He inherited his love of cooking from his Maltese mother, grandmother, and aunt, and his love of the exotic from his Japanese-Norwegian father. Nish came to professional cooking late in life. He studied journalism and architecture in college before leaving a successful career in the printing industry at the age of 32 to begin a new life in the food world.
In 1983, at the age of 32, Nish quickly made up for lost time. After training at the New York Restaurant School, his apprenticeship at Barry Wine's famed Manhattan restaurant, The Quilted Giraffe, quickly turned into a professional position. In 1986, Nish was transferred to as Associate Chef to Barry Wine's new restaurant, The Casual Quilted Giraffe, in Philip Johnson's new AT&T Building on Madison Avenue in New York City. There, at the forefront of the transition from French-Nouvelle to a truly original American cuisine, Nish's culinary talent and skills were honed and inspired by the no-holds-barred fever in Barry Wine's kitchen.
In 1987, Nish left The Casual Quilted Giraffe as Associate Chef to work as a private chef for a wealthy New York socialite. This unique experience afforded him extensive culinary experimentation and artistic freedom.
In 1988, Nish left his work as a private chef to become Executive Chef at the legendary La Colombe d'Or. Nish's culinary talent and lack of direct reference about Provencal cooking inspired his own unique interpretation of this cuisine. Within four months, Nish's innovative cooking at La Colombe d'Or garnered the restaurant a major three-star review from The New York Times, while it catapulted Nish from an unknown chef to a major star. Nish observes: "I think I was a good example of a chef who was asked to work with a theme I was not directly familiar with, took the ingredients and certain traditions, and let my instincts take me from there."
In 1990, Nish opened his first restaurant, March, in an elegant turn-of-the- century townhouse in midtown Manhattan, with his partner, Joseph Scalice. Nish's innovative seasonal menus at March presented an exciting approach to New American cuisine. In only seven years, Nish and Scalice transformed this quiet corner of Sutton Place into one of Manhattan's premier destination restaurants. The restaurant has received numerous culinary accolades, including a four-and-one half-star review in John Mariani and Peter Meltzer's Passport: To New York Restaurants (1997), four-star reviews by Forbes, Mobil: America's Best Hotels and Restaurants (1996), Newsday, and Crains New York Business, three three-star reviews by The New York Times, a 27/26/26 ratingby the Zagat Survey, a "Best Of New York" Gault Millau Award, a "Restaurant Of The Month" award by Bon Appetit, and "The Golden Dishes of 1997" award by GQ Magazine's Alan Richman.
Nish concludes: "I am delighted to have opened my own restaurant. March is a labor of love for me and my partner, Joe Scalice. The menus are works in progress as I continue to experiment with new ingredients, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural influences. I want to solidify my own personal imprint on New American cuisine, which is, by me definition, global in scope."
In addition, Nish has received numerous culinary honors and awards, and has participated as a guest chef and judge at many prestigious culinary programs, major fundraising events, and other prominent special events. He has also appeared as a special guest chef on numerous TV, cable, and radio shows.
As chef/co-owner at March, Wayne Nish's extensive training and culinary talent have combined with his innately creative vision and ambitious goals to make him one of this country's most innovative chefs/restaurateurs.