MEET CHEF NICHOLAS

Meet Cork’s chef, 35-year-old Nicholas Santerre, from Dartmouth, who’s spent the last 20 years perfecting his culinary craft in kitchens in and around the greater New Bedford area.

Since coming to Cork, Nick’s brought a passion for providing fresh ingredients to both the restaurant’s longtime customers and newest visitors, and he’s constantly scouring a “Farm Coast” area that’s become well-known around New England for the treasures it continues to produce with the help of people like Nick.

Below is the first installment of a three-part Q&A series with Chef Nicholas.

How did you get your start?

Nick: “My career started off as a means to an end, but that quickly changed. I realized I loved the trade, and for several reasons:

One, I’ve always been an athlete, and just like in sports, the kitchen crew is like a team. Everyone’s gotta have each others’ backs. I couldn’t do what I do without the help of my crew. I’ve met some amazing people and made some lifelong friends in the kitchen.

Second is the fast-paced, always-on-the-go atmosphere that comes with being a chef. It will never be mundane or boring. I couldn’t do the same thing over and over like Groundhog Day.

Then there’s the creative process: Some people paint, some make music — I’m able to show my creativity through the menu and the meal, and when people are hungry, sometimes that’s what matters most.”

What drives or motivates you?

Nick: “I’m most inspired by my family. I owe so much to my parents. All they ever wanted was for me to be successful — it didn’t matter at what, as long as I was happy.

My children also motivate me, and so do those that have helped me throughout my struggles. They all inspire and motivate me to be better than I was yesterday.”

How would you describe your style?

Nick: “I really wouldn’t know how to define my style, but I like my dishes balanced with a clean presentation and a fusion of flavors.”

You’ve been at Cork now for a while now (almost a year). What makes it different from other restaurants you’ve worked at?

Nick: “Both Jay Lanagan and Al Peters (ownership at Cork) have handed over the keys to the castle and let me do my thing. I have the freedom to create, freedom to run my kitchen. I’ve been able to add to a solid, moderately-sized menu and provide changes throughout the season that keeps things fresh.”

Stay tuned for the second installment with Chef Nicholas coming soon!