BORN IN CHICAGO AND RAISED IN SANTA FE, Kevin Nashan spent as much of his childhood in a restaurant as he did in the classroom. For 27 years, his family owned La Tertulia, a beloved Northern New Mexican restaurant started by his Hispanic grandfather in 1972. Throughout his youth, Nashan helped out doing everything from washing dishes to working front of house. After graduating from St. Louis University, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
After culinary school, Nashan interned at Commander’s Palace under Chef Jamie Shannon, introducing him to the fast-paced world of restaurant kitchens. Nashan then moved to Chicago to immersed himself in French cuisine under the guidance of celebrated Chef Roland Liccioni at La Francais in Chicago. In 1998, Nashan moved to northwestern Spain to stage at El Raco de Can Fabes, but due to a miscommunication, found himself there in the wrong month! Always resourceful, he set out for San Sebastian, a laid-back surf town with one of the highest concentrations of Michelin stars in the world. He knocked on doors and landed at the famed three-starred restaurant Martin Berasategui.
After nearly a year in Europe, Nashan longed to return to the states and assumed a position at Daniel in New York City, working his way through the kitchen under the watchful eye of Chef Daniel Boulud. In 2002, Nashan returned to his adopted hometown of St. Louis with the intentions of opening a restaurant. He learned the owners of local standby Sidney Street were looking to pass the torch after 16 years in business. Nashan loved the beautiful building and decided, along with his wife, Mina, to buy the restaurant in 2003.
Nashan seamlessly incorporates his wide variety of culinary experiences and influences into seasonal, locally sourced creations. His French training shines through his food while his time in Spain shows its lasting impact in soulful sofrito-based dishes and the innumerable cured products in the pantry. The New Mexican cuisine of his childhood is also never far from his mind and his love for Southern cuisine is reflected in the form of ingredients like ham hocks, sorghum, and speckled grits. Nashan believes that sourcing locally should be expected, not celebrated, and it doesn’t get much closer to home than the micro greens he grows in the basement or the garden occupying in the Sidney Street parking lot.
In August 2014, Nashan opened his second restaurant in St. Louis, Peacemaker Lobster & Crab. Inspired by Nashan’s time spent cooking and living in New Orleans and his travels along Maine’s rocky coast, Peacemaker highlights the Acadian tie between Northeastern and Louisiana cuisines. The menu features creative interpretations of coastal favorites like lobster rolls, po’boy sandwiches, steamed blue crab, seafood boils, chowders, gumbos, and seasonal pies. Nashan opened a second location of Peacemaker in Tulsa, OK in a historic downtown space at the heart of Tulsa’s Blue Dome District in September 2018.
Nashan won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest in 2017, after being a finalist in the category in 2014 and 2016 and a five-time semifinalist. He has cooked for President Barack Obama, and he won the 2013 Cochon 555 Barbecue competition in St. Louis. When he’s not in the kitchen, he can be found training for triathlons and ironman competitions (he’s completed six!), playing sports, hunting, and being outdoors. He loves enjoying all St. Louis and Tulsa have to offer with his wife, Mina, and their two sons, Max and Miles.