Cooking for life: Bob NelsonPublished 1:08pm Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Bob Nelson became a chef long before it was the hip thing to do.
Nelson started out cooking as a means of survival.
He was a young boy living in a home with busy parents and four other brothers, and the role of cooking seemed to fall into his lap.
But for him it was more than a task — it was a passion.
From that point on, Nelson didn’t ever stop perfecting his art.
When he was 15, he went into the food service business, working first as a dish washer and then inching his way up to a line cook.
In 1984, he entered the Army, where he served as a cook and took culinary classes while stationed in Germany.
Once out of the Army, he became the assistant chef at a restaurant in Albany, N.Y., where he eventually worked his way up to the role of head chef.
At the age of 21, he bought a restaurant of his own. From then one, he owned four restaurants and served as general manager for plenty.
After years of working inside a restaurant, Nelson began thinking of other avenues he could take along his culinary path.
He was growing tired of long working hours, which, in the restaurant business, can have quite the draining effect. He wanted to take hold of another aspect of the business.
And so he did.
Five years ago, Nelson went into the restaurant design business and opened up Kitchen Warehouse in Austin.
“It was what I saw as a natural progression,” Nelson said.
Since that step, Nelson has experienced tremendous success, having designed Senior Frog restaurants in Hawaii to local kitchens, such as the B and J and Steve’s Pizza.
Though he’s enjoying life in the design business, Nelson said his love for cooking will never die. That’s part of the reason behind his most recent business venture, Gourmet Kitchen, a new store tailored toward culinary delights of everyday people.
The store opened in the fall, featuring herbs, seasonings and plenty of high-end kitchenware for the everyday person. On top of selling top products, he’s also opened a back room for cooking classes.
So what type of cooking style does he prefer?
Anything with beef.
“Beef is underrated,” he said.
Nelson said there are plenty of cuts of beef out there that require different types of cooking styles. And if you do it right, he said it can be unbelievable.