Podcast Episode 41

Telling Stories via The Culinary Arts

Nickie Jurado | 41 Minutes | May 3, 2022

In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Nickie Jurado, host of the Kitchen Scene Investigator podcast. She graduated from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts with honors and has worked as a creative producer, writer, communication strategist, and on-camera talent for various outlets, including ABC, NBC, and BSMG Worldwide.

A cooking enthusiast since age 9, Nickie became known as the “Cake Queen” after launching her first profitable catering business at age 14. Today, she joins her passion for teaching, comedic-performance style, and deep well of culinary knowledge to inspire others through her podcast and other culinary endeavors.

Listen today as we chat with Nickie about building a successful culinary multimedia brand after a devastating back injury nearly ended her culinary career.

Watch the podcast episode:

Video thumbnail play
Notes & Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Kirk Bachmann: Hi everyone, my name is Kirk Bachmann, and welcome back to The Ultimate Dish. In today’s episode, we’re speaking Chef Nickie Jurado, host of the Kitchen Scene Investigator podcast. Nickie is an Escoffier honors graduate who has worked as a creative producer, a writer, a communication strategist, an on-camera talent for various outlets, including ABC, NBC, and BSMG Worldwide. A cooking enthusiast since age 9, Nickie became known as the Cake Queen after launching her first profitable catering business at age 14. Today, she uses her passion for teaching others, comedic performance-style, and deep well of culinary knowledge to inspire others through her podcast and culinary endeavors.

Join us today as we chat with Chef Nickie about building a successful brand after a devastating injury nearly ended her culinary career.

And there she is! Good morning, Chef! I’m exhausted from the intro! How are you?

Nickie Jurado: That was so kind. Hello, Chef. I’m so thrilled because I feel like I’m back in my Escoffier family.

Kirk Bachmann: You are. You never left. You never left. We’re so, so honored. I have to be honest, though. I’m a bit nervous. I’ve listened to your podcasts. Wow! W-O-W exclamation point. You’ve got an electric style. You have an infectious personality. Just please don’t upstage me today. This is my podcast, okay? So just be patient with me. All right?

Nickie Jurado: Of course, Chef. Of course.

Cake Decorating as an Outlet

Kirk Bachmann: I love it. I love it. Let’s start. I’m just really, really excited. I’ll probably go off script a little bit today. Let’s start with how you fell in love with cooking, just to set the stage for the rest of our chat. I would say, Nickie, that I think that topic connects all of us in a unique way because that’s the theme I see is woven into every story that I hear from lots of chefs that we talk to. Something sparked them early in life: Grandma, Mom, working in the kitchen. Usually that moment in life is what dictated whether or not they went into the culinary world.

So as I understand it, your parents enrolled you in a cake decorating class at a very young age. Was this what sent you on your journey for cooking, baking, all things culinary?

Nickie Jurado: Yes. I’ve been thinking about this so much because it’s such a wonderful part of my story. It’s the part of my story that I love to revisit because when things get really hard in life, I like to revisit my why. Why am I doing this? What is motivating me?

When I was a little kid, I had a lot of energy and my parents were like, Oh wow! What are we going to do with this child? I grew up in this little town. We had a little main street, and my mom would literally take me walking down Main Street to burn off some energy. There was this beautiful little storefront – cakes, and chocolate storefront. It just captured my attention. I’m not so sure what it was in that moment, but in that memory, I remember thinking, “What is that? I need to know more about that?” And my mom must have been so happy. She must have been so thrilled to be able to go back and be able to tell my dad, “I think we figured it out with this child.”

Yes. It was classes at nine that my parents enrolled me in because I was just so hyper-curious about the world around me. These classes, what was really interesting is that it grounded me and it brought me to a place of expression. As an adult, I realize that that’s what I was looking for. I was looking for a way to express myself.

Kirk Bachmann: I love the Main Street story. I love the fact – if I get this right – your mom’s walking you to burn off some energy. I’m guilty of this as a father of four, that I don’t spend enough time grabbing my children’s hand and burning off the energy. Rather, I encourage them to do. “Hey, why don’t you go over there and reset or ground.” I love the idea, something so simple. “Let’s go for a walk and burn this out.” I love that.

Nickie Jurado: So the classes were structured. Even though it was a mom and pop shop, the classes were structured via the Wilton curriculum.

Kirk Bachmann: Yes. Yes. Of course.

Nickie Jurado: There was an arc to the learning in these classes. That spoke to my mom’s educator mind because she knew the classes were meeting me where I was, which was ultra-beginner. But it was structured in such a way that I could learn something and then go home to practice. I want to make a note of the “go home to practice” part because I feel like my mom must have thought, “Oh, yes. She can practice helping me. Oh yes. We like this idea, Wilton.”

But in retrospect, it met me where I was and it helped me grow as an artist in such a way that, as a kid, you could be discouraged very easily. What I loved about the Wilton classes is it gave me a trajectory, something to look forward to, something to be hopeful for, something to focus my energy on.

Nowadays, we’d call it a showstopper, the Great British Bake-off. Back then, it was the final class. In that final class, you got to use all of the decorating techniques that you’d learned. I’m so grateful for that experience because I feel like when you learn something as a kid, and it’s not structured, it’s simply play. Play is wonderful, but structured play sets up – in my child’s mind – for a journey.

Kirk Bachmann: You know what I love about that. I think about young children when they’re in school, self-esteem really doesn’t come into play. They’re fearless. You were probably fearless, too.

Nickie Jurado: Maybe a little crazy.

Kirk Bachmann: Which helps, right. But you’re willing to try things, versus fast forward to adult learners. You were a student at Escoffier. Sometimes you’re a little hesitant to raise your hand because, Gosh, let me think about what others might think about what I have to say.

Propel us. Fast forward. You learn these lessons at an early age. How did those memories resonate with you and then impact who you became as a person? But mostly as a cook?

Becoming The Cake Queen

Nickie Jurado: I love this question because it’s important to connect the dots. Sometimes in life it’s not a straight line. What that experience did for me was set a foundation. I learned to make cakes and decorate cakes. Then, that was middle school. By the time I was in high school and I was competing and winning blue ribbons and driving my family absolutely crazy. We literally were going from competition to competition to competition. What my parents, as a teen, saw was that there was real potential in this for a vocation. A vocation, maybe an avocation. Who knows? But what happened was I started selling cakes in high school. I became – I still laugh about this.

Kirk Bachmann: The Cake Queen. You were an entrepreneur.

Nickie Jurado: I became the Cake Queen. This was way before Food Network and Cooking Channel and blah, blah, blah, where if you came in with a baked good product and you had no competition, you were ace. For me, I became the Cake Queen of my high school. I made everyone’s wedding cake. I made everyone’s birthday cook. I make everyone’s shower cake. Then I diversified, Chef. I went into pies.

This was way before seasonal, cooking in season. I saw that there was an opportunity to make seasonal pastries and seasonal cakes. I started selling pies. Then a boy didn’t really pay attention to me one Valentine’s Day, and I was like, “You know what?-

Kirk Bachmann: Shame on him. Shame on him.

Nickie Jurado: Shame on him. I decided I’m going to sell – get this! I’m going to sell chocolate molded roses. And the girls could buy them for themselves, or the boys could buy them for the girls. It was such a win-win. When I got into the business part of my creativity, oh my gosh! It unleashed a capability in me and a way to not only be creative, but also be a business person.

We see this now when a lot of culinary talent have a business and a restaurant. They’re cooking and they’re writing. They’re creating products and they’re running an empire. Back then, I had my little mini-empire. I didn’t really know that what I was doing was creating a creative business. And oh my God! I loved it so much. That set the foundation for the rest of my early adult life.

Kirk Bachmann: I love this story. What was your parents’ role at that time? Did they just let you – Okay Nickie, run with it? Because I know how I am. I’d check their cash register and make sure…I’d check their food supply. Did they keep your books for you or did…?

Nickie Jurado: We’re an immigrant family, so my parents – God bless them – their approach was, “You go do it! We’ll be here.” But from a technical perspective, my dad and my mom made sure I had the best KitchenAid stand mixer possible. The best equipment. My mom was very attuned to making sure I had the best tips and the best piping bags and a box, like a Kaboodle box, to organize all of my equipment. I give major props to my family for helping me be organized. I get so excited about the creative part that the business part – I’m much better as an adult – but as a kid, the business part was like, “Oh, yeah. I need to do that. I know I need to do that.” God bless them for…

Creativity as Story and Experience

Kirk Bachmann: You didn’t have rent. You didn’t have a mortgage. You didn’t have a car payment, so of course you’re not thinking about that stuff. You’re just having fun with it. There’s so many cool avenues here. Creativeness. Can you tie that in to your role as a creative producer, a writer, a strategist, an on-camera talent that happened later in life? Kind of connect the dots there.

Nickie Jurado: Sure. At the foundation of all creativity is storytelling.

Kirk Bachmann: Oh, I love that.

Nickie Jurado: Whether you are creating a cookie, a cake, an elaborate pulled sugar creation, whatever it is that you’re making with your hands, you really are creating an experience. That experience is based on story. Another thing that I think is really important in speaking about story and connecting creativity is that story is priced. If your story is that you are an artisanal culinarian that does seasonal pastries and molded chocolates, then that’s the story that can drive your price. That’s the story that can drive the interest of others to buy into your product.

I’ve processed this as an adult, but I realized early on that what I was creating was experiences. Those experiences and memories are now stories. So fast forward to college and early adulthood. It was my ability to tell a good story, beginning, middle, end. Funny. Sad. Hero’s journey. Wedding. Sweet 16. Whatever that story was –

Kirk Bachmann: Emotions.

Nickie Jurado: Exactly. It informed everything that I did. So the more I focused on the experience of the person that I was serving, whether it was in the culinary part of my life or in television production, or in public relations, I was always attuned to What is the experience that I want to create for this person. Or what is the experience I want to create for this client so that they open up their checkbook nice and wide and they write lots of zeros?

Chef Nickie’s North Star

Kirk Bachmann: It’s the easiest advice to give. Comma, zero, zero, zero. It’s the easiest advice to give anyone who wants to serve others. Number one: create an experience. And number two: like your customers. Like your customers.

Speaking of which. I read something about a foodie theater business.

Nickie Jurado: Right. Let me just connect all the dots. We’re going to go over the bridge, we’re going to connect the dots, and then we’re going to land in Escoffier because I just loved my Escoffier experience.

In my early career, I did television production. Then I did public relations. Then I really missed food. When I realized that as you get older you really need a North Star to guide you in life. Things are going to get hard. They’re going to get really hard. If you live from your North Star and for your North Star. And what I mean by North Stars: what is your guiding principle in life? What are you all about? When you get up in the morning, what are you living for?

My North Star has been democratization of food information. When I was kid, I would read Gourmet magazine and Ruth Reichl and food for me was travel. Food for me was an escape to learn about the world. Back then, there weren’t as many outlets, so I developed this passion for food as travel, food as information, food as expression, and food as learning yourself.

Kirk Bachmann: I love that. Is there a television show or a podcast in the making there? The North Star piece is so – it keeps you in your lane. My 11-year-old son, when I introduce him to chef friends, partners, restaurateurs, whatever it is, one of his first opening lines is always, “So what’s your mission statement, Chef?” And you know what’s amazing, Nickie, is that the chefs always have a mission statement! They’ve always got something to come back with.

Nickie Jurado: You need a menu. Your menu is kind of your mission. It’s your arc.

I want to go back to your question. You asked me about the theater for kids. In terms of the theater for kids, that was the culmination of all the things I wanted to do. I wanted to use my North Star of being of service to others, to empower others to develop what I call “your life menu,” how you experience your life and food. The purpose of going back to Escoffier, moving forward to Escoffier, was to get the technical and the creative skills to bring this kids’ culinary theater concept to life.

Essentially, it was a vehicle for kids to practice their international language skills through food. It wasn’t just a summer camp idea. Built into this concept was real-life education built-in standards for testing. So while the kids were having a lot of fun – and by the way, the pricing that I did on it was much more competitive than sending your kid to a camp and they sit on a sofa for the rest of the day. The pricing was really, really competitive. My business partner is my sister. She is getting her Ph.D. in education, and built in to the program was an ability to test the kids on the same skill set levels that they were learning in school. Sure, they were having a lot of fun, but at the same time they were practicing the skills that they need to get into college.

It was a win-win. The parents got rid of their kids for the week. They have a lot of fun. We were doing Spanish, Chinese, and Italian. Those were the three predominant languages that were being studied in the market that I was going to launch in before I got hurt.

The Encouragement of an Instructor

Kirk Bachmann: We’re going to talk about that in a moment. From an academic perspective, I have to make the comment that what more beautiful approach to assessment than the students, the kids, not knowing they’re being assessed? When’s the last time you were surveyed by Amazon? Let me help you; you weren’t, because they already know. Imagine a world where you don’t know you’re being assessed because you’re having so much fun. I love that concept.

I’d love to hear what your experience with Escoffier was like. What got you up in the morning? What was the highlight of learning? Because we all know, when you’re learning, you’re the best teacher you can possibly be. Were you even a better teacher while you were going to school?

Nickie Jurado: I actually never got to roll out the program, believe it or not.

Kirk Bachmann: Oh, wow! I’m stealing it. I’m totally stealing it. What’s your sister’s name and her number?

Nickie Jurado: Oh my God, she would love it. She would say, “Those are five zeros at the end of that.” I never got to roll it out. That winded up being a blessing in disguise. We’ll get back to that in a moment, because I really want to talk about Escoffier.

It was a pivotal moment in embracing my 360-self. I decided to go to Escoffier, number one, because it was a techniques-driven program. And number two, it had the business component. There was the creative side and the business side. That was gigantic for me. I didn’t want to learn the five mother sauces and not be empowered to launch a business. At the end of the day, bottom line, full stop, it had both things that I wanted and it was online.

You asked me what was my favorite thing. I wish I could just whittle it down to one thing, but what stays with me the most are the chef instructors. I’ll tell you a quick story.

I forget which class Chef Janet taught, but she really encouraged me to write, which was a blessing and a curse at the same time. I’m so verbose. I go on and on and on and on and on and on. She says, “No, Nickie, you really are a talented writer.” I would think, “Are you saying that because I’m a terrible cook? Is it that bad? Is it terrible?”

She just really encouraged me to write in the narrative part of the class. When you go to Escoffier, you have the narrative, you have lab, and then you have your photographs, and then all that leads into this final submission.

In the introduction of that course work, I would delve so deeply into the narrative because it set me up to telling the story of what I learned in the class. I guess I must have been an anomaly. I would write two pages of a narrative. I just loved how she encouraged me. I wrote stories about pickles. I wrote stories about mousse. I wrote stories about demi-glace. That was so encouraging for me.

When you’re working and going to culinary school at the same time, encouragement is so important.

Kirk Bachmann: And Janet’s the perfect. I love Janet.

Nickie Jurado: I love her.

Kirk Bachmann: I know her well. She lives here in Colorado with me. I don’t ever want to underestimate the importance of what you’re talking about, this idea of expressing yourself through words. The narrative is really about critical thinking. That’s the way our chefs understand that you understand what you’re doing. You said it earlier, Nickie. You mentioned that it’s about telling stories, and chefs are great at telling stories.

So we want to know the story of the technique that you engaged in. I image the pickle story was phenomenal. Because not everyone has that gift. Not everyone has that gift. I absolutely love that story. I’ll tell Janet hello, by the way.

James Beard Foundation Media Awards

Nickie Jurado: I was recently featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Kirk Bachmann: Congratulations!

Nickie Jurado: Thank you. It came out in November. I’ll send you a link to it. If you go in my Instagram, LinkedIn bio, it’s in there.

Kirk Bachmann: Give our viewers and our listeners your Instagram, real quick.

Nickie Jurado: It’s Kitchen Scene Investigator. It’s so saucy. That article is in Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was in November, and the title is “How to Pair Wine with Caribbean Food According to the Pros.” I’ll tell you, the flavor passport that we learned in school was the absolute critical tool that helped me organize my thinking for the wine tasting for that article.

Knowing that I learned these schools in school and I use them for this article. I live a live tasting at one of the most incredible Puerto Rican restaurants here in L.A. called Rumba Kitchen and as soon as it came out, I could not wait to tell Chef Janet. It just meant a lot to me.

Kirk Bachmann: That’s beautiful. Tons of congratulations. While we’re on the accolades, I believe there’s potentially a James Beard looming. Right? Are we hoping? Are we praying?

Nickie Jurado: I’m so excited to talk about this because I’ve been working on myself, the potential of this as a professional, for the last five months. In November or December I submitted my podcast, Kitchen Scene Investigator, for a James Beard Award in the podcasting category.

Kirk Bachmann: Bravo. Bravo.

Nickie Jurado: I know! I know! Rewind real quick.

When I designed my show, I just wanted to talk to people. I just wanted to talk to people.

Kirk Bachmann: And that’s why it’s good! That’s why it’s positive, because that’s all you’re doing, just talking to people. And it’s phenomenal, by the way. It’s so good.

Nickie Jurado: Thank you. When I designed the arc of the show, all I wanted to do was tell a great story, but most importantly, I wanted to leave listeners with the ways and language of the pros so that they could explore with more confidence and develop their own life menu. Going back to that North Star, empowering others to create and express themselves fully.

What that meant for the podcast was it didn’t have a definitive 30-minute or 60-minute or 90-minute bookmark or arc or setup. When I submitted to the James Beard Awards, I could only give them 60 minutes.

The show that I submitted was with Chef Andrea Shirey, who is the executive pastry chef at Craft here in Los Angeles. She’s my friend. We sat in her living room and we talked, soft peaks, middle peaks, hard peaks, mousse. We talked citrus, we talked chocolate. She basically revealed the inside secrets to the skills that it takes to be a great baker, so that listeners at home could take those skills and be the best chocolate cake baker that they want. Whatever it is. She gave listeners the inside scoop.

Kirk Bachmann: People love easy listening like that. It’s not complicated. There will be no exam at the end of this chat, right?

Nickie Jurado: So I submitted in November, December, and the nominations come out on April 27. I had to edit that show down to 60 minutes from about an hour and 20 minutes. I learned a hard lesson on podcasting and storytelling, and setting up the podcast with audio intros and outros and transitions, so that if I need to just put a 20-minute podcast out, I can do 20 minutes, even though I recorded two hours. It was a very hard lesson to learn, Chef. A very hard lesson.

So we’ll see.

Don’t Let Adversity or a Setback Stop You

Kirk Bachmann: We’re praying for you. We’re hoping. Fingers crossed, for sure.

Let’s segue to you, at the risk of being a little emotional. I’ll go first. Not even necessarily in the context of working in the industry, just in the context of life. Sometimes we’re dealt a rough hand. No one’s going to call our bluff. Sometimes life is hard. I’m at a place in my life where I’m sort of an evangelist for getting over the hump. 40 years ago, I had a kidney transplant from my father.

Nickie Jurado: Wait, wait. Say that again? You had a kidney transplant from your dad?

Kirk Bachmann: Yeah. My father is still alive, 85 years old. You know what the most beautiful part-

Nickie Jurado: That’s amazing.

Kirk Bachmann: Medicine is amazing. Hope and love is amazing. The beautiful part of this story is my mother. My mother was the one, when I’m a 19-year-old kid, who says, “Nothing in your life is going to change. Your North Star remains your North Star. This was a momentary lapse. We’ve addressed it, and we’re moving forward.” And I’ve never looked back.

I share that primarily because I’d love to set up your vulnerability a little bit here if you’re open to talking about. I think you were within view of graduation and you had a pretty significant injury.

Nickie Jurado: I was three months from finishing…

Kirk Bachmann: One quarter away from the finishing.

Nickie Jurado: From the finish line.

Kirk Bachmann: So tell us what happened.

Nickie Jurado: I was working at a very upscale bougie restaurant. I was closing the restaurant, and as I entered the kitchen – you know when you’re a server, you’re running, you’re walking as quickly as possible. You need to close that restaurant down before the 2 a.m. deadline. There were just so many things on the checklist. I’m moving quickly.

And as I was entering the kitchen, a box had been pushed against the runner carpet. There was a buckle in the carpet, and my left foot got caught in the carpet and I went flying in the air. I did a split in the air, like Simone Biles but I’m not trained. I landed on the corner of a metal table right in the middle of my chest, right by my heart.

Thank God that that’s where I landed, and I didn’t land on my face or on my eyes or on my hands. I herniated four disks, all going in opposite directions and I couldn’t walk. Sorry.

Kirk Bachmann: Take your time. Thanks so much for sharing.

Nickie Jurado: It’s necessary to talk about this, because at the end of the day, you can choose to have adversity take you down.

Kirk Bachmann: Or choose not.

Nickie Jurado: Exactly. Exactly, that’s what I was trying to say.

So I landed on a corner of a metal table right in the center of my chest, and damaged my rib cage, herniated my back.

Support of Escoffier to Graduate

But even though I could barely walk, I sent a message to all of the chef professors and – Oh my God! The Chef Dean at the time, his name slips my mind. I’m embarrassed. I went to the dean of the program and said, “Listen. This is what happened. I can barely walk.” His response was, “You know what? You’ve been cooking for us for almost a year. We know you can cook. We know you can write. So whatever you’re doing…” At this point it was Farm to Table and Flavors of the World.

Kirk Bachmann: You’re last class.

Nickie Jurado: My last class. He said, “I want you to do everything written.”

Kirk Bachmann: That was probably Chef Graham. Right?

Nickie Jurado: I’m sorry Chef Graham! I couldn’t remember. So Chef Graham said, “I want you to do everything written.” The bookmarks of that were that I had Chef Janet on savory for Flavors of the World, and Farm to Table. I had Chef – I forget her name – for pastry. Short dark hair. Oh my goodness. I’m showing my age.

The point is this: they were so supportive in doing that hard 180 pivot from actual lab, actual cooking, to writing. They had seen my writing before. It’s not like when others were sautéing onions and doing chicken liver mousse, or researching Europe or Africa or South America, and doing the tasting menus. Because in that class you do the tasting menus. Even though I wasn’t sautéing and cooking – oh my goodness! Now I had to describe the science! I really didn’t get a free pass.

Kirk Bachmann: Critical thinking comes back into play. The narrative is important.

Nickie Jurado: It really is. It really did. Chef, the universe is a funny place. Because I had to do this and Chef Janet – credit to her, she said, “You know, you need to find photography that displays what you’re thinking and what you’re writing so that I can see that what you would be doing in the pan is what you’re saying on the page.” That level of research at the end of the day, I don’t care where you are in the culinary world, being a good researcher, a discerning and thinking researcher is your best friend.

In Flavors of the World, I researched Peru, Sweden, and Sri Lanka. Imagine trying to find photographs of a tasting menu you’ve never made on the Internet from Sri Lanka.

Kirk Bachmann: First of all, thank you for sharing the story. I’m happy that we’re here together. You’re right. The universe provides, in a strange but beautiful way. You’ll run into more Chef Janets and more Chef Grahams along your way.

Creating Content and a Surprise Proposal

I think it’s important to be able to share the stories that make you who you are. Speaking of which, what’s next for Nickie? This is exhausting! There’s a lot! What’s next?

Nickie Jurado: I took the Kitchen Scene Investigator kids’ class and created the podcast Kitchen Scene Investigator. Universe being a funny thing, what started out as a concept for a small community is now world-wide. The podcast really serves as a branded platform. it’s an invitation and a declaration at the same time. What I’m looking to do is use Kitchen Scene Investigator as my personal brand as I offer creative services to the food and wine industry. And when I say creative services, I mean content creation: everything from video to audio to written content. I get to use my creative side and my PR and my TV side to bring the technical skills that brands need for content creation. This is not just lofty content creation.

I have the podcast. I am freelancing and creating content for big brands.

Kirk Bachmann: You’re writing. You continue to write.

Nickie Jurado: Continue to write a lot. That’s the core of my freelancing is I write. Whether it is copy, website, product description, PR materials, speeches. Anything in the public domain for the food and wine industry, that’s what I create. I have the James Beard potentially coming up, but I really feel that because I’m now in a global audience that my future is really bright. I love creating content. I love writing. I love doing the podcast. And please, be my guest.

Kirk Bachmann: Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it. She asked me! I was going to be super humble about it. I’d love that.

I’ll sit in your chair, you sit in mine.

Nickie Jurado: I would really love that, because I think the concept of going back to culinary school as an adult, and going back to culinary school online is a subject all on itself. I would love to talk about the program and what your experience is like. I think you’d be really interesting. I think there are a lot of closet culinarians out there who are living a quiet life of desperation who would love to re-examine and re-enter the culinary world.

I love and respect line cooks. I love and respect chefs. But what a great culinary education does for you is open up incredible worlds of opportunity in the culinary world that goes beyond cooking on a line. I think that’s a conversation that you and I can have.

Chef Nickie’s Ultimate Dish

Kirk Bachmann: I love it. Keyword: education. Keyword is education.

And the name of this podcast is the Ultimate Dish. We’ve come to that point where, in you mind, Nickie, what is the ultimate dish? You can go anywhere with this. You can go to Peru or you can go to your home kitchen.

Nickie Jurado: Do I have to give only savory or sweet?

Kirk Bachmann: You don’t have to do anything. You can tell me anything you want.

Nickie Jurado: Okay. Okay. Okay.

Kirk Bachmann: I love that you follow the rules, though.

Nickie Jurado: I’m trying real hard. I’m trying really hard.

My ultimate dish is flan.

Kirk Bachmann: Wow! Okay. Tell me why.

Nickie Jurado: Here’s why. Flan can be a sweet or savory expression, because it’s custard. What I learned working in the restaurant business for 15 plus years is that custard is really hard, but can be gorgeous. Gorgeous when done right.

Believing in having your own life menu, I say get good at 20 things, call it a day, and just go on. Go on. So flan is at the top of my life menu. I love to do it as a sweet expression and as a savory expression. If anybody knows me and knows me well and invites me to a party, they don’t even need to ask me what I’m going to bring. They know.

Kirk Bachmann: You’re bringing flan.

Nickie Jurado: I’m bringing flan!

Kirk Bachmann: What accompanies the flan? Are you bringing a tawny port, are you bringing?

Nickie Jurado: Oooh! Oooh! Chef! Oh, you got me. I would bring a Chateau d’Yquem.

Kirk Bachmann: Of course you would! The most expensive dessert wine that exists. I love that. I love that. In the little bottle.

Nickie Jurado: In the little bottle. I would bring that or a late harvest Riesling, or an ice wine. Something in that category.

Kirk Bachmann: I thought you might go the German route, but the Chateau d’Yquem, let’s just stop there. A little flan with Chateau d’Yquem. That works for me. That’s perfect.

Nickie Jurado: Thank you. Flan with Chateau d’Yquem or a late harvest Riesling is my perfect dish. Ultimate dish.

Kirk Bachmann: Ultimate dish. Perfect. And this has been an ultimate chat. I’m so glad I got to visit with you today. Thank you. Congratulations.

Nickie Jurado: Thank you, Chef. This has been my pleasure. I was really looking forward to it, and you were really kind. So thank you. You made it easy. You’re good!

Kirk Bachmann: This is just storytelling. Am I? Did I do okay? Did I do okay?

Nickie Jurado: You did great! Bravissimo!

Kirk Bachmann: My people will reach out and we’ll get something scheduled.

Nickie Jurado: Okay. I would love that.

Kirk Bachmann: All right. Thank you Nickie.

Nickie Jurado: Thank you, Chef.

Kirk Bachmann: And thank you for listening to the Ultimate Dish podcast, brought to you by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Visit escoffier.edu/podcast, where you’ll find any materials mentioned during the podcast, including notes, links and other resources. You can also browse other episodes and subscribe.

Recent Podcasts