The World in Food is Magical – Andrea Nicholson

“You have to think of ways that are creative and outside the box in order to grab people’s attention.” Andrea Nicholson

Growing a successful career takes hard work. This is true even when granted with opportunities that have potential to propel us to greater heights, such as media exposure. Our guest today Andrea Nicholson, was thrust into the limelight early on in her career, and says that it takes hard work to become the best, the media only amplifies who you really are.  

Since the early age of thirteen, Andrea has been consumed by the art of food. She is a creator, teacher and connoisseur.

Andrea is a Red Seal certified chef who received her culinary training at George Brown College in Toronto. Her professional experience includes positions in respected Toronto restaurants and culinary institutes such as Luce, Via Allegro, The Fifth, Humber College, George Brown College, 35 Elm, Trattoria Nervosa, and Partner/Culinary Director of Great Cooks, as well as traveling the culinary globe and working with internationally acclaimed chefs and the world renowned 6 star luxury liner Regent Seven Seas.

Andrea also trained in New York City under Roberto Caporuscio and holds a diploma from the A.P.N. of Naples, Italy, distinguishing her as a certified Pizzaiuoli.

Andrea’s passion for food is evident in her masterful creations, which celebrate the purity of local and seasonal ingredients. Supporting sustainability, Canadian farmers, purveyors and Ocean Wise is the central tenet of her cuisine. Through this love of local and seasonal produce, Andrea created her own artisan product line called Killer Condiments which is available across Canada.

Andrea’s Food Network stardom originated when she appeared as a contestant on Season 1 of Top Chef Canada. She has been a host on The Marilyn Denis Show, Restaurant Takeover and is currently a judge on Food Network’s and Cooking Channels Fire Masters.

Andrea currently owns the wildly popular Butchie’s Restaurant. She is also the owner of the product line Killer Condiments and a great mama to Elliott.

In today’s episode, Andrea talks to us about her journey to becoming one of the most prominent and recognized chef not only in Canada, but around the world as well.

Listen in!

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  • I’m on my 20th year now in the restaurant business.
  • I started off as a young, aspiring chef and food was always at the forefront of my life, and I credit a lot of my passion for food to my grandmother, my dad and my mom.
  • I got my first kitchen job when I was 13, worked at the best restaurants in Toronto moving and learning as much as I could.
  • I went to culinary school and at 19, I went to work on the cruise ship, because there was nothing left in Toronto to offer.
  • I came back to Toronto and I started running a couple kitchens.
  • I applied for Top Chef and became a contestant on the first season of Top Chef Canada, which was a interesting experience and a stepping stone that opened up so many different possibilities.
  • I later had my son and became jobless, but focused on and expanded my condiments business.
  • I then went to host Restaurant Takeover, which was amazing, because it brought me back into the restaurant world again.
  • I had set a goal for myself that by the time I was 30, I would own my own restaurant independent of any partners or angel investors.
  • I went back and did Top Chef All Stars and I came in fourth position, which again opened up so many doors for me.
  • Now I’m judge on Fire Masters , which is such an amazing show.
  • For someone who owns a barbecue and restaurants, being a judge on a barbecue show, has really helped out a lot.
  • Commercial break
  • A big takeaway from doing Restaurant Takeover was that I ended up opening up Butchies which is a Meat + Three restaurant.
  • Kitchens are a place where you want to have to be there, otherwise you will produce crappy food with no love.
  • In my restaurant, I tried my best to have people who love what they do and who want to see growth, and this has really helped to keep the turnover low.
  • We have an inclusive and diverse workforce that is 96% female, because I enjoy surrounding myself with women due to our abilities.
  • Often times I struggle with questions of how to stay relevant and to how to keep going, and I find that it is all about networking.
  • It is important to find the right people and being proactive to reach them, as well as understanding that in order to make money, you have to invest in yourself and believe in your abilities.
  • You have to think of ways that are creative and outside the box to grab people’s attention.


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