After Hours With The Sycamore's Peter Nunez
Editor’s Note: The following Q&A was published in print before The Sycamore permanently closed May 27.
After building relationships with local farmers and producers while working at The Guild House, Peter Nuñez took over the executive chef job at The Sycamore in August 2019. A California native and Navy veteran, Nuñez is busy putting his imprint on The Sycamore’s seasonal menus, adding dishes such as Hershberger Calabasas, a small plate featuring squash from Hershberger’s Farm, smoked pepitas, guajillo-mezcal vinaigrette, garlic chips, Laurel Valley Cloverton cheese and cilantro. We asked the Worthington Park resident and father of three about his first food memory and where he likes to dine when he’s not at his German Village restaurant.
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First food memory: Going across the street to my uncle’s house and eating rice, mackerel and marinated tomatoes in house-made soy sauce is what I remember the most. On one side of the street was my Filipino family and the other was mostly the Chicano side of my family. Food was very culturally shared.
First job in the industry: Abbey Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia. I was the dish/prep guy fresh out of the Navy.
Special occasion meal: Pho Chef on Dublin Granville Road or Fortune Chinese for dim sum. We pretty much celebrate everything with pho.
Best hidden gem: The Lil Donut Factory in Hilliard. There’s a reason my girls wake me up at 6 a.m. for them.
Favorite comfort food: This goes back to Pho Chef. Their broth is so nourishing. We actually have gone there with each kid once they start eating whole foods. It’s just great, clean food.
Favorite sweet treat: My wife’s cinnamon rolls
Always in his fridge at home: Mezzetta Hot Chili [Peppers], soy sauce, Sriracha and juice
Favorite food and drink travel destination: Southern California. I will travel for [In-N-Out’s] Double-Double Animal-Style (add chiles) and a large pink lemonade.
Thing that Columbus needs more of: More places with seasonal revolving menus; this is in regards to the agricultural blessings we have from our local farmers and artisans. I cannot do my job without any of them.