At D’Artagnan we proudly work with chefs across the country, providing them with quality ingredients to express themselves in the kitchen. In our latest chef interview, we’re excited to introduce you to Nico Abello at L’Appart in NYC. Read on to learn about this amazing French chef. Nico was just 15 years old when he entered the hospitality industry, working as a FOH apprentice – restaurant speak for “front of the house” describing any position in the dining room or bar. After two years he began work at Gérard Vié’s two-Michelin-star Les Trois Marches in Versailles. In his FOH role there, he spent a lot of time at the pass (where the plated food gets picked up by waitstaff).
One day, the chef grabbed him and said, “If you want to spend more time in the kitchen, put on a jacket.” Abello slipped into chef whites and never looked back. Three years in that esteemed kitchen set him up with the valuable skills on which his career would be built.
There was a stint in London at Sketch, the restaurant of iconic French chef Pierre Gagnaire, before he returned to Paris where he cooked traditional French cuisine at various restaurants, learning from the disciples of other iconic French chefs like Joël Robuchon. Eventually, Chef Nico made his way to New York, where he worked with the legendary Chef Daniel Boulud.
In 2016, Chef Nico opened L’Appart in Manhattan’s massive French food hall Le District. The intimate restaurant is set up as though it was Chef Nico’s own apartment and the diners his guests at a private dinner party. Just nine months after its first service, L’Appart was awarded a Michelin star which it has held for three years.
What was the first kitchen job you held?
Canapés/amuse bouche station. I was working in the dining room but helping in the kitchen.
Has any crazy stuff happened during your time in the kitchen? What takes the gold medal?
Yes, in London, when I was working at the Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant Sketch.
He was supposed to leave the kitchen at 10 pm, changing his clothes in the chef office, suddenly he saw some plates leaving the pass and stopped the service. He stood between the chef de partie at the meat station and me at the fish station.
He explained to us how he wanted it, but he was just wearing underwear and socks … crazy moment!
Favorite music to work to in h the kitchen?
Journey, Bon Jovi, REM, U2, Calogero.
What’s your favorite post-shift snack?
Cheese and bread, a glass of wine.
What is your favorite D’Artagnan product?
Name one ingredient you can’t live without.
What is the weirdest or most interesting ingredient you’ve ever cooked with?
Weirdest: snake and most interesting: sweetbread.
Best meal of your life so far
Louis XV at Monte Carlo.
If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be? What would you eat?
My Dad. And we would eat steak tartare.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Thank you, Chef Nico!
Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at dartagnan.com, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.
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