Chef/Owner Nicole Kollock had a love of cooking from an early age. Exploring different tastes early on, she surprised her parents by ordering out of the ordinary food for a young girl, trying things such as bleu cheese and even spicy, blackened swordfish!
She was raised in Michigan where her grandparents exposed to fresh produce from their bounteous garden and would take her to the farms nearby for blueberry and cherry picking. Fresh fish from the surrounding inland and Great Lakes were always prepared with local, seasonal ingredients. At the age of 7 she bought her first cookbook and quickly created a gorgeous, yet simple salad!
Her first professional culinary job came at 16, where she was a prep cook in a retirement facility. Here she learned the basics of a professional kitchen, from chopping and dicing, from searing meats to running the dishwasher. During college Nicole decided to explore the “front of the house” and was a server at a local seafood restaurant for three years. After graduating from Albion College, she moved west to San Francisco at the height of the dot com boom. Here she worked for a startup planning many of their internal events. After leaving the corporate world, she began pursuing cooking classes around the city. It was then she realized just how interested she was in the culinary world.. She loved learning about the origins, the composition, the scientific reactions that happened when food was cooked in various ways; she decided to attend Tante Marie’s Cooking School in the Spring of 2002.
Nicole began assisting cooking classes while still in school at Tante Marie’s. After graduating in the fall of 2002, while launching her catering business, she also began teaching at other schools around the Bay Area, including Viking Home Chef, Williams – Sonoma’s Union Square Flagship store, and Ramekins Cooking School.
She extends her passion for food and cooking into her travels, both in the US and abroad, bringing the flavors and techniques back to her kitchen and translating them into informative classes and menus.
In the summer of 2003, Nicole met a fellow chef and future husband Alex in a San Francisco park one afternoon.
After having her daughter in 2009, Nicole was inspired to bring her love of teaching to parents in San Francisco. She created a space where parents can drop their kids off just steps from the kitchen, allowing the “kids play while moms cook” motto.