chef bio

In 2002, at the age of 24, Derek Wagner opened nicks on broadway in an old neighborhood diner space located at 259 Broadway.   Several years later,  quickly out growing the space, Derek moved nicks to it’s current location at 500 Broadway.  This ever-evolving, grass-roots-start-up sprang from it’s modest eighteen seat beginnings, to it’s current 55 seat, acclaimed version.   Through it all nicks has always focused on seasonally inspired, locally supported, integrity and soulfully driven food and sincere service.  With a concentration on attention to detail, passionate cooking and uncompromising standards, Derek focuses on bringing the highest level of cooking and attentive service to his customers in the most unpretentious, upbeat and heartfelt atmosphere possible.

With deep grass roots, staying connected to the community is paramount to Derek and the philosophy that has come to shape nicks on broadway.  Starting years ago, Derek has developed and fostered relationships with local growers, producers, farmers, fishermen and artisans.  His efforts and passions have also lead him to establish on premise herb and vegetable gardens, the planting fruit trees in his near-by yard, and composting for local farms and the following years on-site gardens.  It has also set him on a continual search to find and connect with even more farmers, producers and growers to partner with.  Whatever they cannot produce or grow at nicks, they try to source carefully, thoughtfully, and locally whenever possible.

Derek’s passion for food, community, collaboration and a strong desire for his work to have a positive and meaningful impact lead him to join Chefs Collaborative.  Chefs Collaborative is the nation’s leading network of consciencious chefs, cooks and food professionals that care deeply about sourcing, cooking and serving delicious food responsibly.    Derek is on the national board at Chefs Collaborative and works to connect with chefs from RI and all around the country to raise awareness and make positive impacts on our food system.   He has traveled all around the country, including Washington, D.C., to advocate and work towards these goals.

Derek has been nominated for The James Beard Rising Star Award twice, been featured on TV’s Food Network and BBC America, written about in Food & Wine, Esquire Magazine, GQ Magazine, Playboy, Travel & Leisure, Clean Eating Magazine, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The London Independent, to name a few.  Nicks has been named “One of the Worlds Best Restaurants” by Fodor’s International Travel Guide.  He has also contributed to several books including Harvest to Heat, The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook, Eat Shop and several local Rhode Island cooking and restaurant books.