There is an interesting fact about Nick Holloway, chef/owner of Nunu Restaurant in Palm Cove; Nick didn’t start out to be a chef …he was studying to be a scientific engineering. Like a number of uni students, he grabbed a part-time job as a kitchen hand in a Melbourne restaurant to make ends meet.
What surprised this keen top grade student that was heading to a professional career; he discovered a new career paradigm. “it was very different! tough work, long hours but it had a certain excitement about it’ remembers Nick. “The chef would throw dirty pans from one end of the kitchen and every time they would end up in the sink in front of me” he added. It was not only the action, timing, fun and comradery in the kitchen that appealed to Nick but this is where his suppressed artistic side could be expressed. He decided to swap university for William Anglis College where he commenced a hospitality course.
It was at an event where Nick was working at Howque Dale in the Victorian countryside where some of Australia’s top chefs gathered, and that he met his mentor Geoff Lindsay. “Blown away” by Geoff’s skills and philosophy of cooking he immediately contacted him and started work shortly thereafter at the acclaimed Stella Restaurant in Melbourne.
Nick never actually finishing his cooking study; it was his artistic creativeness and passion for cooking that came to the fore and under the tutelage of Geoff, where his culinary skills shone. From one mentor to another, Nick moved to the critically acclaimed Blake’s Restaurant where he worked with Andrew Blake before returning to Geoff Lindsay’s new and awarded Pearl Restaurant as head chef. Here he had a chance to really express his professionalism and was featured as one of 13 young Australian chefs by the Lifestyle Channel and made guest presentation television appearances.
With his wife Amy and business partner Jason Rowbottam, they made a sea change to Palm Cove and started Nunu restaurant in 2004. Winning numerous awards at Nunu, it didn’t finish there for Nick and Jason, last year they opened two other tiers of catering in Palm Cove. Numi is a little takeaway with home cooked meals, packaged food and delicious ice-cream for apartment dwellers and The Rising Sun; a fun pub style haunt for locals. Where Nunu reeks of tropical style, elegance and culinary innovation, The Rising Sun is laid back with a modest casual style menu of wide appeal. Their Sunday barbecue takes you around the world from Greece, Thailand, USA, changing every week and with a cool breeze and live music it’s a pretty good Sunday afternoon venue.
A dotting family man Nick makes time to share with Amy and his three gorgeous children. Amy who has also been in the hospitality industry understands Nick’s love of restaurants as a place of creativity, vibrancy, hard work, intelligence and pleasure, and one where his role is to pass on the knowledge.
Nick is one of those passionate chefs who seek out farmers and providores to find interesting and unusual local foods for his menu and has just renamed one of his most popular dishes using palm hearts ‘taste paradise’.