Italy might not be the first association people have with Nashville, but one trip to Nick Pellegrino‘s Mangia, and you’ll swear you’ve been transported to the land of pasta and wine. This week, we caught up with Nick to talk Nashville, influences, and more.
What’s the first thing you ever cooked?
Meatballs with my mom.
Are there any spices or ingredients that you think are underrated?
I love Aleppo pepper. Just a pinch can completely change the flavor profile of a dish.
What music have you been listening to lately?
Sinatra, of course.
Why did you choose Nashville to work and live in? What’s your favorite part of the Nashville culinary scene?
Moved here in 1995, and spent my first 15 years working in the music biz as a songwriter/ singer/ producer/ session musician and artist manager. Can’t imagine living anywhere else, well, maybe Italy. I love the sense of community between chefs and restauranteurs. Everybody is so supportive of one another and ready to jump in and help when you need it. It never feels like a competition here. There’s plenty of business to go around right now, and someone else’s success only makes it better for the rest.
Are there any chefs that have had a big influence on you?
Mario Batali. I loved Molto Mario when he had guests at the counter. His interaction with people, his knowledge of each dish, and the history behind it was a huge influence on me.
What are you most excited about doing / seeing / tasting at MCFW?
I love meeting new people who have not been to our restaurant yet, and of course the tastings from all the places I haven’t been to myself!