Submitted photo

By Annika Tomlin | May 6, 2021

Nik Fields has worked as a celebrity private chef and a gourmet food producer — until she stumbled upon an opportunity to open her own place. Now she’s a restaurateur.

Fields opened the Chic Chef Co., Café and Marketplace on March 15 in Midtown Phoenix. The restaurant’s name mirrors her nickname, “the chic chef.”

“The location was pretty much perfect,” Fields says. “It’s not like I went out looking for the location. It’s really like I just stumbled on it.”

The 3,000-square-foot space has an 800-square-foot marketplace where Fields can sell her products, like olive oils, vinegars, spice blends, pastas and popcorn.

“I merged the market between you being able to cook your food like a chef and then you being able to come into the restaurant and actually having me prepare the food for you,” Fields says.

“I’m giving people options — a lot of restaurants don’t really give the option to do that — and then I’m giving them the same exact ingredients that I’m cooking with.”

Fields built her brand over social media by posting cooking classes and other material before and throughout the pandemic.

“I really hate to say this, but the pandemic has literally been an eye opener for my business,” Fields says. “This has been the best year that I’ve had as far as business sales, and I think the world just had the opportunity to slow down.

“There are a lot more people cooking because they are not going out. I’m very big on the best ingredients possible. There’s so many people buying all of my oils, my vinegars, my spice blends.”

Marketplace items include $8 spice blends, $14.99 bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup and $24.99 vinegars.

“The marketplace is going to be next door,” she says. “There is an adjoining door where customers can go next door if they choose to to purchase the products.”

Guests will find space is limited for dining in due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the menu is not limited.

“The food is a mesh of so many different cultures and an experience of every place that I have traveled,” Fields says. “It will really be a conglomerate of all different types of food from all different ethnic parts around the country, and I’m excited about it.”

Fields handcrafted “every single dish,” including Italian and Caribbean dishes.

“The recipes are coming from me, so I’m really excited for people to come and experience the restaurant,” Fields says.

Menu items range in price from $25 to $50.

Fields has not signed up for third-party delivery services, because she wants to “protect the integrity of the food because we don’t know how long it’s going to sit there.”

“That’s not something we are going to do right now, but carryout is definitely an option for patrons,” Fields says. “We have a cute little curbside pickup area that we already have sketched out for them.”

Rough beginnings

Fields started her career after completing culinary arts school in 1996. At the time, the cooking industry wasn’t “glamorous and you didn’t make a whole lot of money,” according to Fields.

“My parents were extremely disappointed that I decided to go down that path, but anyway, I went to culinary school and got my license,” Fields says.

Her parents’ beliefs weighed heavily on Fields. As a result, she returned to school and earned her master’s degree. She worked in corporate America for nearly 20 years before she returned to her culinary dreams.

“Once my daughter graduated from college and my husband earned his Ph.D., I felt like it was my opportunity to do what I wanted to do,” Fields says. “That was in 2016, and literally the rest is history.”

Chic Chef Co., Café and Marketplace

2303 N. Central Avenue, Suite 3, Phoenix