Like so many on Ouita Michel’s team, Frankfort (Ky.) native Devin Armstrong began to love the art of cooking while in a grandparent’s kitchen. His grandfather Ernie Cowen was a longtime chef at the Frankfort Country Club. Cowen, who was self-trained, worked as a sous chef under French and German chefs in the ’60s, then led kitchens in Ohio as a chef before returning to Frankfort. It was Cowen who taught Devin how to rock a knife when he was 7 years old.
Devin has worked since he was 14, starting in restaurants, then to Kroger, where he worked during college. In 2009, Devin headed to the West Coast, working mostly on farms. He lived in Northern California for four years and grew to love horticulture and the process of creating food. He returned home to Frankfort and restaurants, cooking and working up to management at Buddy’s Pizza, Wallace Station, Windy Corner Market and now, Zim’s Cafe. Devin and his fiancee, Nicole, live in Frankfort.
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The only one of Ouita Michel’s restaurants that has not had the pleasure of Nick Zaluski’s presence is Wallace Station.
He’s worked as a sous chef at Honeywood, Smithtown Seafood and Holly Hill Inn, a cook at Windy Corner Market and baker at The Midway Bakery.
After studying for a culinary degree at Sullivan University, Nick worked in catering at Champion Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club, and then cooked at Jean Farris Winery. He has cooked for Ouita’s restaurants since 2013.
“I have been fortunate to train under respected chefs, including Ben O'Daniel at Jean Farris Winery, Tanya Whitehouse at Holly Hill Inn, Jon Sanning at Smithtown Seafood, Jon Turock from Windy Corner Market, Tyler McNabb from Holly Hill Inn, and, of course, Ouita Michel,” Nick said.
Baking is one of Nick’s favorite jobs in the kitchen. While at Sullivan, Nick made pizzas at Mancino’s, working up to lead baker. Before coming to Honeywood, his family’s signature baklava was added to the Holly Hill Inn dessert menu. At Honeywood, Nick makes the Honeywood cake, a tres leches-style cake, and hopes to find the time to create dessert specials.
Nick has volunteered with Seedleaf, a group that helps communities access healthy food by creating community gardens and youth nutrition and cooking programs. He lives in Lexington.