Chefs on StarChefs
Brooke Williamson & Nick Roberts on StarChefs

796 Main Street
Venice, CA 90291

Biography »

Antoinette Bruno: Why did you begin cooking?
Brooke Williamson: I was always interested in cooking, since I was 5 years old.
Nick Roberts: Cooking kind of picked me. I was working at a coffee house and there I started baking and decided I liked it. I decided to enroll at the culinary academy, and while there, many good chefs took me under their wings.

AB: Who is your biggest culinary influence?
BW: Ken Frank, when I was working for him. Michael McCarty, the sous chef at the Argyle Hotel.
NR: John Gerber, the sous-chef at Highlands Inn, and Rocco DiSpirito.

AB: What are some of your favorite ingredients?
BW: It depends on the season, but I like to use figs and garlic.
NR: Any type of fresh fish.

AB: What is your most indispensable cooking tool?
BW& NR: A fish spatula and spoons.

AB: Where do you like to go for culinary travels? Why?
NR: San Sebastian, Spain. The whole city is centered on food and they have such phenomenal cuisine. I’m inspired by chefs such as Arzak and Ferrán Adría.
BW: South of France, where there is simplicity and attention to good quality ingredients.

AB: What is your favorite culinary book? Why?
NR: The Making of a Cook by Madeline Kamman. She breaks cooking down to normal chef’s
mentality so everyone can understand it.

AB: What interview question would you ask a potential line chef?
BW: A lot of people want to get into the kitchen because they think it is glamorous and it is the opposite. I want to know if the candidate has got the passion to get through it.
NR: Where have you worked and for how long? I like to see them work for one night and see them in action.

AB: What advice do you have for culinary students?
BW: Have an open mind; you won’t be making $40,000 the first year you get out.
NR: Do it because you love it; not because it’s a paycheck

AB: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
BW/NR: In another restaurant. Our plan is to have three restaurants. Amuse Café plus a casual and elegant beer and wine bar and a fine dining restaurant as well.


Amuse Café | Venice, CA

This duo might be young, but together, they already have a lifetime of cooking experience under their chef whites. When this dynamic pair first met in the kitchen of Zax, no one was surprised when two years later, they opened up their own restaurant, Amuse Café. With offerings ranging from baked rigatoni to duck leg confit, their unpretentious cuisine offers bold flavors that satisfy a variety of discriminating palates. Although Williamson is only 24 and Roberts 25, their dishes prove that age is not a determining factor in the distinction of chefs.

Fig, Cabrales & Prosciutto Tart

Chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts of Amuse Café – Venice, CA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 ServingsFig, Cabrales and Prosciutto Tart on StarChefs


  • 2 (3 by 9 inch) rectangles of puff pastry
  • 1 whole egg, lightly scrambled
  • 4 slices of fresh prosciutto
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 basket of fresh figs, sliced, or 9 dry figs, sliced
  • 6 Tablespoons crumbled cabrales cheese or any good quality blue cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Lay out the puff pastry on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Pierce the inside of the dough, leaving a ¼ inch border for the crust. Lightly brush the entire sheet of dough with the egg. Sprinkle layers of cheese, prosciutto, shallots and sliced figs within the border of the pastry. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool and cut into slices.

 Published: Feb 2004