CHEF NICK OSKOIAN
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.”