Grae Nonas’ discovered his passion for food early on and began his career in kitchens at the age of twelve, before attending The Culinary Institute of American in 2006. 

Toward the end of his studies, he was accepted into an externship at a one-Michelin-star restaurant, Osteria di Passignano, in the heart of Tuscany. When he graduated from CIA he went and worked in the kitchens of Andy Nusser and Mario Batali.   

In early 2011, Grae made the leap from New York to Los Angeles and began work at Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s Animal. He was offered the sous chef position at Animal’s newly opened sister restaurant, Son of a Gun, where he met Olamaie’s Co-Executive Chef, Michael Fojtasek. 

In August 2014, he opened Olamaie with Fojtasek. Since opening, Nonas was named a 2015 James Beard Awards semifinalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year” and 2015 Food & Wine Magazine “Best New Chefs” with Chef Fojtasek. Additionally, Olamaie has received numerous accolades including being named as a 2015 James Beard Awards semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant.” 

Learn More About Grae Nonas

What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
One of the earliest memories of food was when I burned my hand on a hot dog cart in central park when I was 5. Ha, I really wanted a pretzel.

If this is your first year participating in SOBEWFF, what are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to meeting fellow chefs that I look up to, as well as eating cuban sandwiches.

If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
If I could cook with anyone in the world right now I would cook with Magnus Nilson. As a younger chef, I have a huge respect for what he's doing and what he's accomplished. To me he's inspiration to us all.

I never leave home without my:
My cell phone - it's a direct line to my home where my wife and baby, Aya, are, and it has a notepad in it that I use constantly.