“Any chef should say that they are writing a menu for their own tastes. You have to stay true to yourself.” ~ Nicky Riemer
History: With an hotelier
father, the only thing Nicky knew growing up was the hospitality industry and
claims. Today she’s chef and co-owner of Union Dining that opened in May
2011 to a whirlwind of positive reviews. Nicky Riemer was nominated for
Chef of the Year 2012 in
Her career began at Stephanie’s in Hawthorn that eventuated into a head chef role upon opening Richmond Hill Café and Larder with Stephanie Alexander. Later Nicky underwent a stint at mecca, then opened Mecca Bah with Cath Claringbold where she met friend now Union Dining business partner, Adam Cash.
that success, Nicky became the only female head chef at Langton’s Restaurant
until head hunted as H-One Executive Chef in
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
literally grew up living in hotels. My Dad, as the manager, would have an
apartment in them and I didn’t know how to live in a house. The only thing I
knew was the hospitality industry. Being around waiters, chefs and
bartenders was the norm. I cut my chemical engineering degree short upon
realizing that I loved food so I left and pushed through the ranks of an
How would you define your style?
think the best way to describe my cooking style is traditional and provincial.
I love the traditional techniques and skills of cooking and caring for seasonal
ingredients. This is what makes my general approach to cooking provincial, as I
like to focus on what ingredients are from
Your greatest culinary influences?
had been an apprentice at Stephanie’s restaurant in Hawthorn and then went on
to open Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder with her in
be a leader is hard, no matter what the industry or what sex you are but I will
say that as a woman in the hospitality industry there have been times when I
have felt frustration. I believe strongly in the ability of a woman in a
kitchen to be a calm and positive role model. I have learnt that to lead, you
need to listen (to others), watch (what is happening around you) and learn
(from your mistakes).
Signature Dish: Baked barramundi
with mustard herb crust, parsley puree & balsamic shallots. It’s been
receiving lovely reviews from our diners and has evolved from one of the first
dishes I learnt to prepare as an apprentice at Stephanie’s in Hawthorn.
To prepare this dish we give care and attention to the ingredients and
enhance their flavours with different cooking techniques.
What do you love about this industry?
I love what dining out offers people.