For this edition of Chef’s Corner – which shines the light on Delaware North culinarians – we caught up with Nick Catlett, who has the distinction of being the first certified executive chef in the company’s travel hospitality business.
Catlett, who joined Delaware North in May 2012, serves as executive chef at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, where the company operates food and beverage services.
Delaware North has introduced several popular local restaurant concepts at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in recent years. Among the additions with a decidedly New Orleans taste are Copeland’s Cheesecake Scoop Café, Copeland’s Gourmet Kitchen, Dooky Chase, Le Petit Bistro, PJ’s Coffee, WOW Café & Wingery!, Ye Olde College Inn and Zatarain’s Kitchen – a New Orleans staple for more than 120 years.
Words that describe you
Nick Catlett: Loud, exciting and passionate.
Words that describe your food
NC: Texture, depth and loud.
On becoming the first certified executive chef (CEC) in Delaware North’s travel hospitality business
NC: It is an honor that I will not take lightly. There are many great chefs in our travel hospitality division that I have had the pleasure of working with; this keeps the pressure on me to keep doing well. I feel like with Delaware North there is no ceiling – anything is possible. I have made it a personal goal to test all limits and keep reaching higher until I am told to stop. I know others will catch on to the excitement, and this will make our team so much stronger.
The best advice you ever received in the kitchen
NC: Cook with passion. The heat and the food must go through a love affair – a give and take of heat. You must have a balance and a harmony. This applies to cooking in all methods. You must know how much heat and how aggressively to apply it to all types of proteins, fruits and vegetables.
Your favorite food(s)
NC: Italian. Very rustic and flavorful ingredients that sing and dance in your mouth. From veal piccata to fresh Italian sausage and red sauce.
Your least-favorite food(s)
NC: I have never met a food that I didn't like and respect…but for the sake of the LEAST-favorite, it would have to be enriched white bread. Very boring!
Heroes (cooking or otherwise)
NC: Cooking heroes include Francis Mallman, Marco Pierre White and Emeril Lagasse. They all cook with emotion, and it can be tasted in their food. I am very proud to be working for the same company as Chef Roland Henin (one of about 70 certified master chefs in the United States); it makes me work harder.
Personally, I call my dad my hero. I strive every day to be the man that he has taught me to be.