Stuart attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York, where he graduated with top honors. He then began his cooking career in the 1990s working for Chef John Hogan in Chicago at the acclaimed Savarin restaurant.
Nicole’s pastry and baking skills were first nurtured at the Red Hen Bakery in Chicago under Chef Nancy Carey.
In the spring of 2000, Stuart and Nicole were hired to be the Executive Chef and Pastry Chef at the legendary Tapawingo in Ellsworth, Michigan, a hamlet of a town with a population of 400. It was there that they developed their own unique style of cooking using seasonal and local foods.
In 2003, Stuart was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s ‘10 Best New Chefs’ of America for his technique and commitment to using the best local ingredients.
In 2004, Stuart and Nicole were recruited by Restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Master Sommelier Larry Stone to take over the kitchen at the famed San Francisco restaurant: Rubicon. In less than a year, their cooking reestablished the decade-old restaurant as one of the top dining destinations in San Francisco, garnering numerous local and international accolades.
On December 31st, 2011, after a few years of travel, exploration, and starting a family, Stuart and Nicole opened the award-wining State Bird Provisions, which has introduced a new way of thinking about dining and service.
Expanding on those ideas, in December of 2014 Stuart and Nicole opened The Progress to critical acclaim. By following their own style, they are yet again changing perceptions around dining and service. They are driven to consistently provide a unique environment where people can expect interesting food, distinctive wines, and meaningful service. To do this, they remain focused on, support and respect the foundations of their businesses: their staff and purveyors.
Aside from earning legions more fans, they have received the following recognition and accolades:
- One Michelin Star: 2014-2017 (State Bird Provisions) + 2017 (The Progress)
- James Beard Award: Best Chefs West 2015 (State Bird Provisions)
- James Beard Foundation Nominee: Best New Restaurant 2015 (The Progress)
- 7×7 Magazine: Eat + Drink Awards 2013 & 2014
- San Francisco Business Journal Forty Under 40, Class of 2013
- San Francisco Chronicle: Top 100 Restaurants 2012-15
- Zagat: The 10 Hottest Restaurants in the World (State Bird Provisions)
- San Francisco Magazine’s Best Chefs 2013
- Tasting Table Best Pastry Chefs of 2013
- James Beard Award: Best New Restaurant 2013 (State Bird Provisions)
- Food + Wine Magazine’s Best Chef All-Stars 2013
- Bon Appetit Magazine’s Best New Restaurant of 2012 (State Bird Provisions)