General Manager/Executive Chef
Growing up in Lansing, Michigan, Nick Szombatfalvy was "always into cooking and music." He eventually decided on a culinary career, for largely pragmatic reasons: "Neither make great money, but at least with cooking I would get to eat." He also had the benefit of experience in the business. "My father ran restaurants when I was younger and I was eager to help out. I worked with him until I went to culinary school in Madison." Nick joined Food Fight in 2010 as a line cook at Johnny Delmonico's, where he found his first professional mentor: chef Michael Pruett. Under the award-winning chef's tutelage, Nick honed his skills and rose through the ranks of the Delmonico's kitchen, ultimately becoming sous chef. From there, Nick followed Pruett to help open Steenbock's on Orchard before Food Fight offered him the job at Craftsman. Beyond the creative and professional satisfaction of getting to practice his craft, Nick enjoys restaurant work because of the diverse cast of characters it brings to his life. "You never know who is going to walk through the door. I've become good friends with tons of people whom I would have never met without the revolving door of business bringing them in. There is never a dull moment with these people." He also appreciates the Food Fight organization's collegial culture and emphasis on developing and promoting from within. "There is such a vast array of experience to draw from. Everyone is helpful and willing to share their experience and knowledge with those of us who haven't been around as long. I can't think of one time I was lost trying to fix a problem that someone couldn't help me out with."