Chef Nathan hails from Savannah, GA. He graduated from Auburn University in 2008 with a degree in geography and anthropology and moved to NYC shortly after for an unpaid internship where he took on a job cooking at a bar and grill for income and decided to pursue a career in restaurants and hospitality. He has worked with many reputable chefs over the past 7 years, and in 10 establishments ranging from casual to Michelin starred venues. (most notably working with Noma cofounder Mads Refslund at ACME and earning Michelin Stars at Piora and Gunter Seeger NY.) When he’s not at work, he enjoys bubble baths, long walks on the beach and playing with his cat, Jane.
Executive Chef Nathan Pauley In His Own Words
I grew up in Savannah, GA and graduated from Auburn University in 2008 with a degree in Geography and Anthropology. Towards my last year there, I visited New York for one day and knew that I needed to be here. I moved to the city 9 years ago after finishing college for an unpaid internship and simultaneously worked at a bar and grill for money. After 6 months of flipping burgers and frying wings, I left my predestined “college plan” for a career in hospitality and have not once looked back.
I cut my teeth at a small Asian inspired bistro rooted in French technique and principles. Chef Roy Lamberty took me in when I could barely peel an onion. He was an opening line cook at Jean-Georges and has cheffed at many reputable hotels and private clubs before opening his own establishment, Fatty Fish. He was trained technically in old school French and built a solid foundation for me. I ran through every station in under 6 months and was then promoted to Jr. Sous within a year where I managed ordering and inventory as well as manning my station for lunch and dinner services.
After a year and a half, and months of searching and deliberation for my next opportunity to continue my growth, I left with Chef Roy’s blessing to pursue a position at Acme with Executive Chef Mads Refslund, co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen. Mads instilled in me a real sense of artistry and passion and teamwork. I once again went through every station in about 6 months and then was promoted to Jr Sous where I did the restaurants ordering, managed day time prep cooks and oversaw receiving in the day and at night assisting with station prep and worked as tournant during dinner service, and was always on the line for Friday and Saturday night service turning out 250+ covers in a 70-seat house. I was also the banquet chef, catering multiple courses to parties ranging from 10 to 40 people.
Next, I left with a fellow Acme sous chef, Ken Corrow, to open The Cleveland in Soho. We were working together from menu conceptualization to plating ideas along with running the back of house. The owners, however, wished to change the concept to a simpler, more casual menu, so we parted ways genially, but not before Ken passed me along to one of his friends, Mac Moran, for another new restaurant opening in Washington Heights called Rusty Mackerel where I was Executive Sous Chef.
Following my tenure there, I wanted to get back to cooking for me where I could grow and gain inspiration and knowledge which brought me to Piora, earning and retaining a Michelin star and 2 New York Times Stars. I started on the grill station, only to be promoted to Sous Chef at about 8 months in, and left as the Executive Sous Chef with my responsibilities include ordering, inventory, saucier, expeditor, as well as pretty much anything else that needs to be done.
I decided it was time for a new challenge and joined up with Major Food Group, working at Parm. Here I acquired experience in a corporate level kitchen where I was managing a team of 25 BOH staff and conducting services of up to 700 covers.
Most recently I returned to the fine dining scene to work at Gunter Seeger NY, another new opening. Here we would have a daily changing preset 8 course menu revolving around hyper seasonal products. Chef Gunter and I would go to the Green Market every day to hand pick the finest produce for that night’s dinner service and sourcing meat and fish from the best farmers and fishermen. Words like “pristine, perfection, and soigné” became common talk. He taught me about how the quality of a product is so much more important than how many ways one could manipulate or change it. A true culinary purest that I believe lacks in today’s modern kitchens.
Back when I first moved to the city, before I stepped foot in a kitchen, a friend brought me to a bar called Hibernia. Two of the bartenders at the time, Aidan and Mark, really propelled excellent service in a hospitable and fun environment, to which I became a regular. Somewhere along the way I learned they were the owners of it, and then asked if I would be interested in a new project they were working on called The Winslow. I humbly declined as I was still on my learning path, but when they asked me again late last year, I decided I was ready to helm my own kitchen here at The Winslow.