“We weren’t born to create excuses, we were born to create excellence” -Janna Cachola
What started as a dream, blossomed into a gorgeous restaurant on the West Side of Chicago. Model turned chef, Nichelle shows the world she’s more than just a pretty face. While Nichelle makes it look easy, she certainly crawled her way up from adversity with a story of tragedy turned into a ending with a beautiful triumph. We took a minute to chat with this dreamer about the development of her new found restaurant and career.
Q: How did you come up with the name "Dream Chef Kitchen"?
A: I was trying to decide on a name that meant something, so I wrote a list and I kept coming back to Dream Chef. It meant inspiration and continuing to follow that passion.
Q: You received your first cookbook at a young age of five but when did cooking truly become a passion?
A: It always has been. I've always loved being in the kitchen. It's always been a release. Becoming a chef was more about using a passion to incorporate myself and to have my own business.
Q: What was the first dish you learned to prepare?
A: I made a lot of soups
Q: What ultimately made you walk away from modeling and how did you transition to the culinary arts?
A: I loved modeling but I didn't have a passion for it and the grind/hustle for it, is real. I needed more stability so I decided to work for corporate America and hated it then decided it was time to follow my dream, so I quit and went to culinary school.
Q: I'll give you two options and you have to pick one. GO! Breakfast or Dinner?
A: Dinner! I'll eat dinner as left overs for breakfast haha.
Q: What was the process of creating your menu?
A: I took time to think of what my clients love, what that location needed and what I wanted the brand to represent. I believe in comfort and health and finding a balance, that's what Dream Chef's menu is all about.
Q: What is your favorite item on your menu?
A: I eat the collard greens everyday. The sauce for the chicken and biscuits, fresh buttermilk biscuits and mash potatoes is a hit! Sometimes I do the jerk chicken salad. But wait no! maybe the Portabella mushrooms ..... basically I enjoy it all!
Q: When people think of comfort food many would think of pub food such as pizza, burgers, etc. With your menu, you managed to put a healthier spin on what we consider comfort. Have you always been a health conscious chef?
A: Yes but because I understand that you can enjoy pizza and also eat salads and still be healthy. I love vegetables and grew up off collard greens and peppers, pots of string beans and potatoes. My grandmothers and great aunts would always cook and then we enjoyed some good restaurants as well. Comfort comes from foods that warm your soul!
Q: Aside from Dream Chef Kitchen where do you enjoy eating?
A: Chicago is a food town, its so many great spaces to choose from. Soule' & Two Fish are both owned by people I know and the food is great so I go there when I can.
GT Prime and Chicago Cuts are two of my favorites! I also went to Sushi San the other day and they played hip hop all night, so I'll definitely be back but all in all, Gyu Kaku West Loop is probably my go to spot since it's a few minutes from dream chef.
Q: Will we be seeing another location opening for Dream Chef Kitchen?
A: You'll be seeing a lot more from Dream Chef in the next few years. The possibilities are limitless. For now, I'm just happy to see people sitting in my little spot on the west side of Chicago, making memories and eating great food!
@IAmNichelle | @DreamChefKitchen