Chef Michael Nelson arrived in New Orleans in July 2005, bringing with him experience from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, and restaurants in Chicago and Seattle. He quickly rose through the ranks at GW Fins, first being named Chef de Cuisine in 2007, and then in 2015, he was named Executive Chef of GW Fins. In 2022 Chef Nelson was nominated for “Best Chef Of the South” by the James Beard Foundation and was named a “Chopped Champion” on the Food Network.
For almost a decade, Chef Michael has made it his mission to increase the sustainability of seafood through better utilisation of the entire fish. Chef Michael has created innovative butchering techniques to increase the yields of the fish GW Fins serves. He coined the term “Ocean Conservancy Cuts” on the menu to denote these remarkably delicious dishes (most notably our Fin Wings) that utilise parts of the fish “beyond the fillet.” Since embarking on this pioneering approach to advocating seafood sustainability, Chef Michael has become a culinary leader in this field locally, regionally, and nationally, being asked by chefs, fish houses, trade shows, as well as the James Beard Foundation to share his techniques.
Most recently, his innovations in seafood have led him to focus on dry ageing fish. Chef Michael uses specialised dry ageing cabinets which are designed to control temperature and humidity to mature his fish to create exciting new specialty cuts. The results have been extraordinary–by allowing the fish to lose excess moisture and increasing the density, dry-ageing creates a new depth of flavor, and the meat becomes more tender.