Chef Michel Nischan of Heartbeat W New York - Biography

New York, NY

October 2010

When restaurateur Drew Nieporent had to find a chef for Heartbeat who had a keen awareness of nature and well-being, he didn't have to look very far. Michel Nischan was already the Corporate Consulting Chef for Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group, and Drew knew Nischan had an innate ability to turn natural, whole foods into something healthful and flavorful. That’s because Nischan was an advocate of sustainability well before it became the buzz word it is today.

Nischan credits his respect for nature to his mother, who, in order to feed her depression-era family of thirteen, turned to the family farm. She passed her ideas of cooking, farming, and deep respect for the earth's bounty onto her son, who began his career in the kitchen as a breakfast cook in a rural area near the Wisconsin- Illinois border. He took his love of the land to the Windy City, working in some of Chicago's top restaurants, including La Tour in the Park Hyatt and Jovan Troyevic's prestigious Le Perroquet. Soon after, he moved to Milwaukee, where he opened Fleur de Lis, transforming the Milwaukee restaurant scene. Not having attended culinary or business school, Nischan realized the need to advance his business knowledge, so he accepted a position as opening chef for Interstate Hotels Corporation.

Returning to Connecticut, Nischan became chef and co-owner of Miche Mache, one of the most highly praised restaurants in the state. Miche Mache was often highlighted in The New York Times, regularly finished in the top ten of the Zagat Restaurant Guide, and its Gospel Brunch was featured on the BBC and in the London Times. It was during this time that Nischan met Nieporent and their partnership and friendship quickly flourished. Nischan eventually opened his own restaurant, Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut. And when he’s not busy in the kitchen, this chef is also CEO and president of the Wholesome Wave Foundation, dedicated to supplying underserved neighborhoods with access to healthy, fresh, and affordable locally grown food. And as a leading personality in initiatives to bring healthy food to the greater population, Nischan can be found writing award-winning cookbooks, making television appearances, or otherwise using his warm, generous personality to enhance the well-being, and culinary accountability, of the industry and beyond.