Chris Nye, chef de cuisine at Spoon and Stable Minneapolis, works diligently with award-winning Chef/Owner Gavin Kaysen to define modern Midwestern cuisine. Together, they take the top ingredients from the Heartland’s farmers and artisans, prepare them simply to emphasize flavor and balance, and present them in a stunning way to show the breadth of the Midwest, beyond its meat-and-potatoes façade. “The better the product we can get, the easier it is to make something delicious,” Chris says. “All that’s required is that we don’t over-fabricate things or strip them of their natural characteristics. In turn, we create food that is expressive of Minneapolis because it’s grown right here and made nowhere else.”
Chris moved from Northern Virginia back home to the Twin Cities in May 2014 to join up again with Gavin Kaysen, for whom he cooked at Café Boulud in New York during the chef’s ascent to national culinary fame. “Coming back here and working for Gavin again has been incredible,” says Chris, who helped open Spoon and Stable in fall 2014. “We worked together in 2008 and just happened to be moving back to Minneapolis at the same time.”
Before reuniting with Gavin, Chris lived and worked in the D.C. area for more than four years, most recently as chef de cuisine for Chef Fabio Trabocchi at Fiola, a modern Italian restaurant in downtown’s Penn Quarter neighborhood that won Best Fine Dining at the 2013 Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s RAMMY awards. Prior, he played significant roles at two Falls Church, VA, restaurants. As executive chef, he led Pizzeria Orso to achieve recognition on several best new restaurant lists in 2011. Working under Bertrand Chemel, whom he’d originally met before his first tenure with Gavin at Café Boulud, Nye helped the renowned chef’s 2941 Restaurant achieve three and a half stars from the Washington Post, as well as the Best Fine Dining award at the 2010 RAMMYs.
Food has played a central role in Chris’s life since his time spent around the family dinner table. When he was young, he and his brother also cooked for their parents one night a week. During those evenings, he first experienced the joy of cooking for others, which eventually led to him attain a degree in culinary arts from Minneapolis Community College. “The hospitality aspect of this industry appeals to me, preparing something for someone and watching them enjoy it,” he explains. “Other jobs, you have to be patient to witness the outcome, but with cooking, you get that pleasure instantaneously.”
Outside of the restaurant, the chef and his wife, who is also in the industry, extend their hospitality at home in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis by inviting friends and family over for dinner. Chris is glad to be back in his home state so he can play hockey with regularity in the winter.