Chef Spotlight: Nick Accardi of TAVOLA, TAVOLINO, AND VITO'S SLICES AND ICES on Ninth Avenue in NYC
Nicola (Nick) Accardi is a longtime Italian chef and restaurateur who currently owns several businesses in Hell's Kitchen including the immensely popular Tavola, as well as Vito's Slices & Ices, and the newly opened Tavolino. All the eateries are located in close proximity to each other on Ninth Avenue. Years ago, this stretch of the neighborhood was lined with several Italian-American businesses making it once known as the "Mini Little Italy," and while that may not ring as true these days, Nick has kept the spirit alive. His popular restaurants have truly defined this New York neighborhood.
Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Accardi for our "Chef Spotlight."
What was your earliest interest in cooking?
When I lived in Italy as a young boy, my mother's side of the family had a few professional chefs, so it runs in the family. The culture in my family's town of Castelvetrano was very food-centric and that's where I developed my passion for food. I also worked in an Italian pastry shop at the age of 14 which enhanced my passion even further.
Who were some of your career mentors?
My uncles who were professional chefs; they taught me how to select food at the markets which is a very important skill to have. I also consider Serge LaPoint from the Basque region of Spain to be a big mentor of mine. I apprenticed under him at the age of 15 as opposed to going to culinary school.
What culinary styles have influenced your career?
Mainly Sicilian style, but I also incorporate influences from different regions of Italy as well as the Basque region of Spain.
What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?
Properly selecting and inquiring ingredients from all different regions of Italy as we now have the luxury to do so in New York.
What is your favorite meal?
Pasta! I like so many of them. My favorite has to be my family's Sunday sauce, which is a slow and low cooked sauce.
Tell me a little bit about your restaurants for our readers.
My three restaurants, which are all located near each other on Ninth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen, focus on authentic Italian cuisine. I am very hands-on in all my restaurants; I'm not only the primary chef but I also design the interiors.
Newly opened Tavolino is located at 496 9th ave New York, NY 10018. Visit their web site at https://tavolinonyc.com/ or call 212.273.1168.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nick Accardi