Meet “Chef’s Table” Chef Niki Nakayama

“Chef’s Table” Chef Niki Nakayama
Photo courtesy of Zen Sekizawa

Welcome to Round Table, a new podcast by A Women’s Thing about women who are changing the faces of their industries.

Host: Allison Geller
Sound Editor: Alicia Barrett

We’re thrilled to launch our podcast series with a chat with Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama, chef and sous chef of Los Angeles-based n/naka. As the list of male chefs accused of harassment only gets longer, we wanted to share the story of female chefs who are changing the landscape simply by succeeding on their own terms.

You might remember Niki and Carole from the first season of the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table. We knew we wanted to meet them from the moment we watched that episode. They seemed to be building something even bigger than a successful high-end restaurant—a culture of respect, thoughtfulness, and depth that is a refreshing departure from the usual.

Niki and Carole clearly make an amazing team, in the kitchen and in life. We asked them about the challenges and rewards of partnership, how to balance technique with artistry, and if they strive to hire more women. We hope our conversation will inspire you, whether you work in food or any other creative field.

 
“Should there be a woman that walks through that has similar qualities, I can’t help but want to give her an opportunity that she may not be able to get somewhere else under a male chef.”
 
Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama
In our first Round Table podcast, we speak with Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama, chef and sous chef of haute Japanese restaurant n/naka. Photo courtesy of Katrina Dickson
Plate 2: haute Japanese restaurant n/naka
Photo courtesy of Zen Sekizawa
Plate 1: haute Japanese restaurant n/naka
Photo courtesy of Zen Sekizawa

Special thanks to Dan Patterson for the advice.

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