Born and raised in South West Florida in the middle of the Everglades, Nikki’s early years of cooking experience came from her love of diverse cultures and an abundance of agriculture that surrounded her. Still today, she pulls heavily from her passion for Latin cuisine and Caribbean style soul food.
Nikki graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of the Carolinas with a double concentration in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts in 2012.
Nikki began her career at Passerelle Bistro under local Chef Teryi Youngblood. Chef Teryi was able to bring out a culinary side of Nikki that she never knew she had. Through Chef Teryi’s guidance, Nikki was able to improve techniques and gain confidence as a chef. Nikki is still grateful today for Chef Teryi’s influence.
Nikki took this experience to the Cliffs where she was able to work under Chef Victor Carducci. Chef Carducci provided Nikki the platform to hone her skills as a chef and start to define her unique style, which she has now brought to the Southern Culture family.
Upon taking over as Chef at Southern Culture Kitchen and Bar, Nikki now has the opportunity to bring Greenville a modern approach to classic southern food. While southern food has its rich traditions, Nikki focuses on bridging her experiences with those of the south and embraces dishes that offer a more health-conscious approach. That paired with a stronger focus on locally sourced ingredients is a perfect fusion of Southern Culture.
“Southern cooking was born out of adaptation from necessity. In that respect, we have to adapt to fit our changing food climate and show our guests that something considered old fashioned can be beautiful and progressive.”