Chefs on StarChefs
Brooke Williamson & Nick Roberts on StarChefs


796 Main Street
Venice, CA 90291

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Amuse Café | Venice, CA


Brooke Williamson
A native to Los Angeles, Brooke Williamson began her culinary career working as a teacher’s assistant at the Epicurean Institute of Los Angeles. It wasn’t until she began working as a pastry assistant at Fenix at the Argyle Hotel that her creative energy emerged and her talents were truly recognized. Soon after, under the guidance of Ken Frank, Williamson won First Place in the Quady’s Four Star Pastry Competition. It’s hard to believe she did all this before age 19!

In 1998, acclaimed chef Michael McCarty quickly recognized the star quality in Williamson and asked her if she would move to Santa Monica and work at his nationally renowned restaurant, Michaels. Williamson accepted with delight. While at Michael’s, her remarkable skills and culinary intuition were highly praised and rewarded. At the young age 20, she became that restaurant’s youngest sous chef ever.

After two years at Michael’s, Williamson was appointed executive chef at the sophisticated Los Angeles restaurant Boxer. Here, she revamped the restaurant’s French-California menu with fresh produce from local farmer’s markets and began to develop a signature flavor profile using the most interesting ingredients she could get her hands on.

Williamson continued to create inspired menus when she went to work at Zax, in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood. As executive chef, she raised the bar on seasonal American cuisine by infusing local ingredients from southern California with diverse and global flavors. At Zax, Williamson, who’s been deemed a culinary wunderkind, was heralded by such esteemed publications as The Los Angeles Times and Forbes.

Already far more accomplished than her young age would suggest, after leaving Zax, Williamson and her fellow Zax partner Nick Roberts, opened up Amuse Café in Venice, California. As part owner and co-chef, Williamson is able to make administrative duties and call the shots in the kitchen. Serving delightful, fresh, innovative dishes every night, Williamson’s extraordinary and vibrant talent proves that she has what it takes to stay on top of her game.

Nick Roberts
Growing up in Carmel, California, Nick Roberts was raised by his family in Durney Vineyards, a pioneering wine operation in the Carmel Valley. Surrounded by his family’s vineyard, his palate for wine matured and developed with ease, but Roberts was more fascinated with food.

His passion led him to The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. While at culinary school, Roberts was trained under some of the best teachers, and their lessons paid off. Upon graduation, Roberts headed to New York to work in such acclaimed restaurants as Union Pacific, Ducasse, and Café Boulud.

When he returned to the west coast, Roberts worked briefly in the pastry department of First Crush restaurant in San Francisco, but soon headed to the kitchens of the prestigious Highlands Inn, located in his hometown of Carmel. According to Roberts, it was at the Highland Inn where his true culinary training began. Here, he was able to absorb lessons on the international scale, including a rule that he lives by to this day: “simplicity is key.”

In 2001, Roberts moved to southern California to work at Zax in Brentwood, where he was quickly promoted to sous-chef. At Zax, Roberts gained insight in American Bistro cuisine as well as business knowledge on how to run a successful neighborhood restaurant with far-reaching appeal. Here, Roberts met Brooke Williamson and the pair instantly became friends.

Roberts’ business savvy along with his culinary expertise helped him greatly, as he and Brooke Williamson took on the roles of co-owners and co-chefs at Amuse Café. Here at Amuse Café, Roberts works hard fulfilling his passion for all things food.

 Published: Feb 2004