Executive Chef & Owner — Nikki Dailey
Chef and HEAT Culinary owner Chef Nikki is a freelance food writer, culinary blogger and cooking instructor with a passion for seasonal local and organic cuisine. Whether developing recipes, teaching cooking classes or catering large events, good food is always on her mind. Raised in an Italian home, Nikki's family kitchen was one of great love and laughter as she learned the value of hard work, wholesome food and good wine.
As an alum of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY Chef Nikki has cooked worldwide alongside some of your favorite TV Chef Personalities, and has earned the title of Fromager and worked as a Jr. Sommelier while organizing food and wine events for discerning clients. After years working culinary production in many of the country's top restaurants, she decided to pursue her true passion and start her own business for the home cook. Nikki and her team enjoy instructing classes and hosting events for both the individual as well as large corporate groups.
Ame grew up working alongside her parents at their Thai food restaurant and quickly discovered the beauty in cooking for others. She has extensive training in the hospitality industry and worked in Las Vegas hospitality before opening her own Thai restaurant and sharing her culinary gifts with discerning clients. She joins HEAT Culinary with a desire to share her culinary ability with students as well as our catering clients.
Gretchen believes in creating sustainable ecosystems. Aquaponics and composting are therefore her specific interests. She met Chef Nikki on San Nicholas Island while planting habitat for seabird nesting and night lizard hideaways. They bonded over a passion for this amazing world. Heat C.O.R.E (Compostable, Organic, Raw, Energy) is a logical extension of Heat Culinary. Food waste doesn't have to be waste. The food that is not utilized can be regenerated into alternative food and energy.
Gretchen has degrees in Environmental Horticulture and Economics. She studied aquaponics on the Big Island of Hawaii and now wants to use her horticultural knowledge to innovate the reuse of left over food from local restaurants.
Angelica Claudio is a Bay Area native who has relocated to sunny Ventura, California. She is a Cal State, East Bay graduate with a BA in Communications with expertise in Professional, Public, and Organizational settings. She has worked in the service industry since 2008, with jobs ranging from bartending to administrative assistant work. She also has an extensive background in event planning and operations. Her true passion is working with the public to create unique experiences that go above and beyond expectations.
Denise is an Orange County native. She brings her love of people and excitement for food to HEAT Culinary. She grew up visiting her grandparents in Arkansas where she spent many hours romping around the farm in the garden and helping her Grandma pick blackberries and harvest veggies. Her family’s southern roots remind us all how food is an opportunity to come together. She has spent nearly 2 decades mentoring stylists in the Beauty Industry as a successful Master Stylist in Orange County and is excited to be a part of the vision at Heat Culinary.