Meet Chef Nicola

A Rare Find

Origins

Coming from the outskirts of Torino in the Piedmont region of Italy, Nicola Mersini is a rare find. Because the northern Piedmont region borders France, the Franco-Italian influence is evident in his creations.

In 1992 he graduated with honors in Hotel Management and Culinary Performance from the Amerigo Vespucci Culinary Institute of Milan. His rigorous training called him to apprenticeships in renowned kitchens in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain and this experience has given a French and Italian accent to his food. Although he has a preference for European ingredients and techniques, he also likes to cook fish and game, and Japanese and European vegetables are also a part of his culinary repertoire.

Chef Nicola enjoying espresso with a friend

Under the guidance of Chef Moreno Grossi, Nicola was hired as a carte mangiare at Ristorante La Smarrita. Within months, proving himself indispensable, he expanded his scope of responsibilities to support every function of the kitchen.

2 bulbs of freshly roasted garlic

Developing a Reputation

Nicola’s work ethic and joyful approach to culinary was noticed and soon he was called to Paris, France for the legendary Hotel de Crillon.

From his early beginnings in Europe, he searched for adventure and knowledge. In 1994, he moved to New York and in 1995 Sirio Maccioni (according to Ruth Reichl, “the most important restaurateur of the era.”) enlisted Chef Nicola to further refine his chops at Manhattan’s famed Le Cirque Restaurant. It was here that Chef Nicola trained with other noted chefs like Daniel Boulud.

In 1998 Chef Nicola gained notoriety of other restauranteurs as his involvement in competitions and benefits thrust him into the New York culinary social scene. He took positions at Le Bernardin, Cipriani Wall Street and Limoncello and became a sought after personality as well as a respected culinary artist.

New York Celebrity Status

In 2001 at a dinner benefiting the James Beard Foundation, Nicola impressed Mariza May and Tony May with his impeccable execution and playful approach.

They promptly recruited him for San Dominico, where he worked under Chef Odette Fada for a year and a half until he was promoted to Executive Chef of San Domenico in 2003.

While working at San Domenico it was issued a 3-Star rating by the New York Times, he was among the first chef pioneers to participate in “NYC Restaurant Week” started by Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He was selected as chef for the 45th Grammy Awards, in collaboration with Odette Fada and Sandro Fioritti.

Momento's Chef Nicola standing in his kitchen, ready to make whatever you like

Chef Nicola became a favorite personality of the Manhattan media, with appearances, contributions, and features in the many outlets, including: CBS “Good Night in Manhattan”, The New York Times, Italia Magazine, Grand Gourmet Magazine and his expertise has been prominently featured in Art Culinare, The International Magazine of Good Taste.

The dining room of Momento Pizzeria

Putting Down Roots

In 2005, it was time for Chef Nicola to invest in a place of his own.

He moved with his family to the lush countryside of northeastern Pennsylvania where he continues to be involved with community charities, building relationships with local farmers and providing diners with delightful surprises when they visit his restaurant Momento Pizzeria + Restaurant.

What Can Chef Nicola Cook for You?

Try the exotic flavors of our Six-Course Tasting Menu or any of our house specialties. We will gladly make any dish you request. Please ask!