Nick Dostal, Executive Chef
Nick Dostal was appointed executive chef of Sixteen in January 2017 after two years serving as the restaurant’s chef de cuisine and working in lockstep with his predecessor and longtime friend and mentor, Thomas Lents.
Chef Dostal brings a contemporary approach to seasonal cuisine, and he aims to inspire the staff to continually evolve, both in our culinary, and in our beverage programs. Under his direction at Sixteen, guests are treated to a menu incorporating modern cooking techniques balanced with a respect for simple, classic preparations that honor the ingredients and those who source them.
“I deeply believe that true, successful, and honest hospitality is rooted in putting emotion into everything you do,” says Dostal. “Appreciating the ‘lesser cuts’ for what they can be when love is applied is a cornerstone of my culinary philosophy. I find significantly more joy and satisfaction in showcasing how great the ‘stems and shanks’ can be with a little bit of love than I do in anything else.”
A native of the Chicagoland area, Chef Nick was introduced to the culinary world early on in life, cooking together with his family as a young boy. He officially entered the industry in high school, washing dishes at a local restaurant. From there, he worked his way up to prep-cook, and then became interested in a more formal training by way of culinary school.
After taking summer classes at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Chef Dostal attended Johnson & Wales University in Denver. While in school, he worked at more than seven different restaurants in the Denver area and eventually he traveled to France to continue expanding his skills in classic techniques. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in culinary nutrition, alongside an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales, Chef Dostal moved to Vail for a position in the lauded kitchen at Larkspur Restaurant. After he finished his time in Colorado, Nick moved to San Francisco for a position at Michelin-star-rated Quince where he first met Chef Thomas Lents, who was the chef de cuisine beneath Chef Michael Tusk at the time.
Chef Dostal eventually returned to Chicago where he held esteemed positions at the then two Michelin-starred Ria in the Waldorf Astoria under chef Danny Grant, followed by him earning a spot at Grace Restaurant – which he opened as a chef de partie under Chef Curtis Duffy. There he would move up to the position of Executive Sous Chef, and would help earn three-Michelin stars for the restaurant. After leaving Grace, and joining Sixteen, Chicago’s esteemed Jean Banchet Awards recognized his talent in 2017 with a nomination in the Best Chef de Cuisine category. Outside of the kitchen, Chef Dostal enjoys traveling and the Japanese art of bonsai, drawn to the calm, delicate, and patient demeanor required.