Rising Star Chef Nick Janutol of Forest Grill - Biography

Detroit, MI

November 2016

Michigan native Nick Janutol got his first taste of cooking while he was still a student at Grosse Point North High School. It was basic stuff—burgers, roast chicken, and soup—but he found unexpected gratification in the alchemy and process of turning ingredients into a meal. Janutol didn’t run off to culinary school immediately, though. First he did a year’s stint at Wayne State University before boredom drove him to Montclair, New Jersey, and work in his uncle’s Italian restaurant. After one more year at Wayne State, literally giving it “the old college try,” Janutol knew he wouldn’t be satisfied outside of the kitchen and headed to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. 

After graduating with an associate degree, he landed in the extraordinary culinary training ground otherwise known as Eleven Madison Park in New York City. After two years, Janutol was ready for a move, but Detroit wasn’t yet in his sights. Instead he spent time in some of Chicago’s great kitchens, including Ria, Balsan, and L2O.  

In 2015, with some seriously prestigious training under his belt, Janutol moved back to Detroit, where Brian Polcyn plucked him up to open Forest Grill in nearby Birmingham. Janutol has since picked up a nomination for James Beard’s 2016 “Best Chef, Great Lakes,” and a 2016 StarChefs Rising Star Award, with cooking that’s as meticulous as it is approachable and true to the city.