Executive Chef Nicole Pederson’s Midwestern roots lend to her focus on pure flavors, simplicity, and seasonality in her cuisine at C-House, Marcus Samuelsson’s acclaimed Chicago restaurant at the Affinia Hotel. Pederson was interested in the art of food from an early age, but it was her first trip to France at the age of 19 that solidified the Minneapolis native’s fascination. Inspired by her eye-opening European experience, she enrolled in the culinary school at the Art Institute of Minneapolis, officially embarking upon her journey to become a chef.
Upon graduation, Pederson returned to France, not only to experience more of the amazing food and culture, but to gain solid work experience. She spent a summer working at Hotel Bellevue, an innovative gastronomic restaurant in the southwest of France, before making the exciting move to Vail, Colorado that fall, where she began working as a line cook at La Tour, a French American restaurant in the heart of the ski village. She quickly moved up to take the role of Chef de Cuisine, running La Tour’s kitchen for two years.
Wanderlust and the desire for new challenges eventually led Pederson from Colorado to New York City, where she staged at many top restaurants in Manhattan before joining the team at the famed Gramercy Tavern. She continued to refine her culinary skills and talents, ultimately leading her full circle and back to the Midwest with a final move to Chicago. Working as sous chef at Lula Cafe, Pederson developed an increased understanding of artisanal ingredients and cooking, as well as an appreciation for the importance in working with local farmers and creating a sustainable community.
Pederson takes a simple and seasonal approach to her menu at C-House, working closely under esteemed mentor Chef Samuelsson. According to Chef Samuelsson she is, “Akin to a young Alice Waters with a passion for pure, simple food and a true understanding of the beauty in flavor combinations.” Pederson continues to garner acclaim as a top upcoming chef, and was nominated for "Best New Chef" in Time Out Chicago’s Eat Out Awards in 2010.