Raised in the rural County of Amelia, Virginia, Lidia’s Chef de Cuisine Daniel Nutty’s chores included everything from hunting deer and rabbits to raising beagles, collecting chickens, and collecting their eggs. ‘Cooking has simply been the only constant in my life that I find pleasurable. It’s difficult to imagine anything more fulfilling than working in a reputable restaurant’s kitchen, let alone my own someday.’ Daniel started as a business major and quickly realized sitting behind a desk wasn’t for him—he had already worked his way through various kitchens and set his sights on a culinary career. In 2008, Nutty landed his first intensive culinary experience working for Brinker International in Richmond, Virginia. It was there he recognized his passion for cooking.
After working for Brinker, he landed at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, graduating from their Classic Culinary program in 2010 with a focus on classic French Cuisine. Post- graduation, he was given the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship in Italy. Because of his Italian descent, Italian cuisine only comes natural to Nutty. Traveling to Italy from Amelia County seems like a dream too farfetched, but in 2012, it was realized, completing an apprenticeship at Ristorante Zeppelin in the town of Orvieto in Umbria, Italy. In 2016 and 2017, Nutty was selected Best Chef Runner Up of RVA by the Richmond Times Dispatch. The focal point of Nutty’s intrinsic motivation are the smiles and constructive criticism received from senior staff as well as guests and friends. ‘Cooking is definitely my way of giving back to the world–without cooking, I am stuck passionless holding a fork.’