Chef Chris Nugent began his culinary career at a very early stage in his life training next to his mentor and adoptive father Chef John Daly at the Drovers Inn, an upscale classic French Restaurant in Vestal, New York. His culinary training was such that by age fourteen, Nugent had already mastered the inner workings of a restaurant, the nuances of each food station, along with the efficiencies on running an entire kitchen.
graduating from high school, Nugent further pursued his culinary interests
and enrolled in the Johnson and
graduating, he completed several stages at many fine restaurants throughout
the country including Radius in
Often described as "delicious," "serious," and "beautifully presented and without pretension," Chef Nugent's cuisine has received rave reviews and he is certainly happy that his cooking style is favorably recognized by both critics and clientele. He describes his culinary style as "classic French with a Twist" and continues to develop a commitment to proper technique and to the purity of French cuisine. Nugent creates eclectic dishes that have both a focus and a balance of flavors. "The integrity of the dish is first and foremost," states Nugent, "after I have established that, I experiment with presentation and flavor." To achieve this culinary level, he combines his childhood grounding in classic French cooking with his own natural inventiveness.
Besides the quality of the food, Nugent follows his father's philosophy of building an excellent culinary team. "A chef is nobody without his staff. I consider them a part of my family," says Nugent. "A successful restaurant must include running a kitchen operation both from a culinary point of view as well as a business point of view. That includes staff training, training in the principles of good cooking, and good business. Teamwork is essential."
Chef Nugent's thorough approach to work combined with his creativity successfully translates to being an excellent teacher. Chef Nugent enjoys teaching his passion to others, not only to his staff, but also to the greater community. He is on the Common Threads Chef Advisory Board, a non-profit organization that teaches children to embrace their culture and the cultural diversity that surrounds them. He also participates in cooking demonstrations at the Green City Market and American Diabetes Association EXPO at Navy Pier.
Mary Beth Liccioni began her studies in the culinary arts at
The list of awards they earned included: AAA Five-Diamond, Mobil Travel Guide Five-Stars, and Wine Spectator's One of the Greatest Wine Lists in the World, induction into the prestigious Relais & Châteaux, and Traditions & Qualité's Les Grandes Tables du Monde, as well as numerous other distinctive accolades. Also, Mary Beth was ranked among the top ten pastry chefs by Chocolatier magazine.
In 1990 Mary Beth formed Chocolats Le Français as a satellite company to the restaurant. It was around this time that it became necessary for Mary Beth to branch-out further with her talents such that she could both see to administrative details and look after the front of the house, nurturing her businesses as a mother nurtures her children. Mary Beth's tireless ambition led her further still; she acquired the then private Les Nomades from Jovan Trboyevic in 1993, and has been director of Les Nomades since that time. Once Ms. Liccioni completed her tenure at Le Français in 1999, she focused her energies on Les Nomades leaving it sole heir to her talent.
Along with her keen business sense and gracious personal style, Mary Beth has an insatiable desire for knowledge. She has become fluent in the French language, regularly attends wine courses and is regarded by many as a connoisseur of wine and gastronomie.