Michael Nelson’s natural perception of the nuances of seafood can be traced back to childhood summers in Maine. While his mother worked as a personal chef for the Rockefeller family, Nelson was busy setting lobster traps in Bar Harbor, where locals would pay him in crustaceans.
His fascination with the culinary world dovetailed into his first job working under Master Chef Bob Brusinski at Public Landing and Tallgrass, two of Brusinski’s renowned Chicago restaurants, beginning at just 16 years of age. Once he received this practical experience, Nelson went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. Following graduation, Nelson gained tremendous experience cooking at some of the most highly regarded restaurants in Chicago and Seattle, including the Georgian Room at Seattle’s Four Seasons Hotel.
From the time he arrived in New Orleans in July 2005, Chef Nelson has been an integral part of GW Fins’ Culinary Team. His acumen was clearly recognized and Nelson quickly rose from GW Fins’ Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine and eventually Executive Chef.
Nelson’s innovative work utilizing the brightest flavors and juxtaposing textures to highlight each variety of seafood can be recognized in dishes such as Firecracker Tuna Tacos, innovative garnishes for the freshest Crudo imaginable and his signature entrée; Scalibut (Scallop Crusted Halibut). Although known for serving more than a dozen varieties of seafood every night, guests also flock to GW Fins for Chef Nelson’s non-seafood appetizer, Crispy Pork Belly with Compressed Watermelon, and a dessert, Salty Malty Ice Cream Pie.