Our Staff

Nick Prastos
Founder & Chief Taste Tester

Nick started developing Le Gourmet Factory (LGF) in 2010. His love for food and business combined to spark a new concept aimed squarely at chefs and food business entrepreneurs. Nick’s understanding of the mechanics and economics of a start-up in a highly competitive industry helped him shape the concept and design for LGF. Prior to conceiving and developing LGF, Nick worked on Wall Street, gaining experience in strategy and market analysis. He moved to Hong Kong in 2008, where he ran development of business strategy in Southeast Asia and Taiwan for his employer. Upon moving back to New York in 2009, he decided to apply his skills and experience in a different direction. Le Gourmet Factory is the result of this move.

When Nick is not working, he enjoys nothing more than spending time with his friends and family. This usually involves some form of cooking and of course, eating. He looks forward to serving Le Gourmet Factory, its member chefs, and its students.

 

Chef Gus Nations
Executive Chef/Consultant, Le Gourmet Factory

Chef Nations studied at the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, NY, and graduated with perfect attendance and high honors. His professional experience speaks for itself. He became Executive Chef of the Omni Independence Park in 1990, where he learned to love not only cooking, but food writing his menu each morning after communicating directly with the farmers and producers that supplied the ingredients used that day. In 1994, Chef Nations was hired by the Morton’s Restaurant Group in Mid-Town, Manhattan and spent four years learning the “business side of the business”. He traveled globally opening new stores and improving under-performers and in 1998, was offered the Corporate Chef position w/ Charthouse Restaurants for their newly acquired Angelo & Maxie’s steakhouse. He also directed food and beverage operations for Crystal Springs Resort, in North West New Jersey from 2001-2005. Chef Nations’ latest professional position was as the Executive Banquet Chef at The Tavern on the Green in Manhattan.

The Chef’s personal time is spent with his wife of more than twenty years (who happens to be an incredibly gifted fashion designer), his son, Gus IV and his daughter, Peach.

 

Chef Uve Toedter
Consultant, Le Gourmet Factory

Chef Uwe Toedter is a veteran chef, farm-to-table activist, and advocate of organic ingredients. His career has led him to a variety of countries. He has worked in luxury hotels, opened and operated a premier restaurant for Vista International Hotel in Washington D.C., as well as owned his own restaurant. Chef Toedter’s culinary achievements have earned him numerous prestigious awards and coveted memberships into exclusive culinary and hospitality organizations, including the American Culinary Federation, Epicurean Club of Washington D.C., Federation of Cuisine Exclusive de Europe, and Societe Culinaire Philantropique. Since 1998, Uwe has served as president of the Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of New York. He is also a member of the “Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.”

Chef Uwe Toedter’s innovative genius is not limited to fine dining and cuisine. His gourmet popcorn flavored with olive oil, onions, garlic, brown sugar, butter and chipotle is sold in restaurants and bars.

On a personal front, Uwe makes handmade fountain pens and wooden game boards. Toedter also lends his time to the Natalie Toedter Scholarship Foundation, which he established in 2004 in memory of his daughter to support women interested in pursuing a career in hospitality.

 

Chef Nations and Chef Toedter look forward to using their extensive experience to help Le Gourmet Factory’s growing list of gifted chefs succeed.