Paul Kahan has reeled in a high-profile pastry chef for his upcoming Italian concept Nico. Amanda Rockman, formerly of The Bistrol and Balena and currently at L20, has signed on to mastermind the sweets for Kahan. She has six weeks left at L20 before she heads to the Thompson Hotel full time, with a slight break in between to create wedding cakes for her sister and best friend.
With the new gig, Rockman has now worked for the majority of the major restaurant groups in town (Boka, Lettuce Entertain You, One Off Hospitality). The gig came through mutual friends: she started chatting with Kahan, who one day mentioned he needed a pastry chef for Nico.
"I'm not really one to leave places," Rockman says, "but when opportunity knocks and it's Paul Kahan at the door, you answer."
Rockman terms the concept "polished-casual Italian," saying she's simplifying things in order to delve into more traditional Italian desserts. "I have a few things up my sleeve," she says.
She mentions a few ideas like a caramel, coffee, caffe dulce dessert; a variety of tarts like coffee and walnut; and gelatos and sorbets in "not crazy flavors." She's intrigued by one dessert that Kahan sampled in Italy—a steamed combination of ice cream, coffee, and hazelnut liqueur.
With Nico located inside the Thompson Hotel, Rockman will also create breakfast fare. She talks about croissants, panettones, chestnut coffee cake, and making ample use of honey, jam, and other jarred goods.
Nico's target opening date is mid-November. Currently they're in menu development, picking out plate and glassware, and fine tuning the food. Rockman says she'll have more concrete menu details in three weeks. They're currently looking for a sous chef as well.
Until then, they'll have to make do with a high-profile pastry chef.
· All Amanda Rockman Coverage [-ECHI-]
· Chef, Name and Conceptual Details Emerge for New Kahan Project [-ECHI-]
· All Paul Kahan Coverage [-ECHI-]