College of New Caledonia graduate Nathan Mickey didn’t have any expectations when he started CNC’s Professional Cook Program.
“I just wanted to see where it would take me,” he said.
Excelling in the program, Nathan secured a job at Prince George’s new downtown Betulla Burning restaurant as part of CNC’s Brad Horen Memorial Scholarship. The award included $500 and the chance to apprentice with the donor: Brian Quarmby, Betulla Burning’s Executive Chef.
“Nathan was chosen as the most passionate,” Quarmby said. “We’re really happy with him. He’s a quick learner. He’s our man of many talents.”
Quarmby has been involved with the Professional Cook program at CNC for some time. Before he created the award, which is named after his own mentor, he was often a guest lecturer.
“CNC has a great program,” he says. “They produce a lot of good cooks. We actually have three CNC grads working at Betulla Burning.”
The restaurant prides itself on a simple philosophy involving ancient Neapolitan cooking techniques steeped in tradition with a modern spin.
After Nathan’s experience at Betulla Burning, well on his way to becoming a Red Seal Chef, he said he has more appreciation for the artistry driving the industry.
“It’s a physical art,” he said. “It’s a different medium—more physical than painting. It brings in more senses, not just sight. There’s flavor and feel.”
Half a year has gone by since Nathan started as a line cook at Prince George’s premiere pizzeria Napoletana restaurant and he said couldn’t be happier.
He has stepped up and is now running Betulla’s lunch service by himself.
“It’s going great,” he said. “It’s really fun here. I’m always learning and doing something new.”