2015 Chef to Watch – Nick Oskoian


Nick Oskoian, Willa Jean Bakery


Nick Oskoian, of Willa Jean Bakery, is the epitome of someone who’s always known what he wanted to do with his life. From an early age, Nick spent time in the kitchen cooking with his grandfather, who inspired Nick’s love of food.

“I never really considered any other career option,” Nick says.

Growing up in an Armenian household in Monroe, Louisiana, Nick got his start in a gyro shop before moving on to a Lebanese Restaurant called Palmyra. He took a short hiatus to Thibodaux to attend the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State. From there he spent time in both New Orleans and his native city, working with 2011 Chef to Watch Cory Bahr at Canard’s, followed by stints at Cotton, Nonna, and Restaurant Sage. In the Crescent City, he worked in the kitchens of Arnaud’s and Domenica.

Now Nick has returned to New Orleans as sous chef 
of newly opened Willa Jean Bakery, working alongside 
2014 Chef to Watch LisaMarie White and James Beard 
Award-nominated pastry chef Kelly Fields.

Nick’s menu is flavor forward and fresh, similar 
to the recipe he gave us for Snapper Crudo with Thai 
Chile Vinegar and kimchi. “I love light, herbaceous 
flavors. If you can find a balance between fresh herbs 
and citrus/vinegar and salt, generally I’m a very 
happy guy.”

His advice for this Snapper Crudo? “Get the 
freshest, nicest seafood from the Gulf you can get. 
Treat it very simply. The pepper vinaigrette is light 
and easy to make—just make sure you have a 
sharp knife to slice the fish.”


Snapper Crudo

Click here to meet the 2015 Chefs to Watch. 

Jeffrey Hansell, Oxlot 9
Nick Oskoian, Willa Jean Bakery
David Dickensauge, Bin 77
Melissa Martin, Mosquito Supper Club
Blake Abene, Square Root
David Sorrells, Restaurant Calla

Join the 2015 Chefs to Watch at Sac-a-Lait in New Orleans on October 19 for an exclusive 6-course dinner.

For more on the 2015 Chefs to Watch, pick up the September/October issue of Louisiana Cookin’