Chef Di Bona’s passion for cooking comes from his tightly knit family, notably his Italian born father, Adamo. His earliest childhood memories are those of being awakened on Sunday mornings by the busy sounds of the kitchen, followed by the aroma of his dad’s red sauce. For Nick, it all began with that family pasta sauce.
Di Bona’s career in the kitchen has its humble roots in the community of Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, New York. Di Bona and his brothers spent their childhood on bicycles exploring the back roads of their home town. These adventures would end with some cow watching at the local farm, followed by a water break at the legendary fine dining restaurant, Peter Pratt’s Inn. Nick would park his red Huffy at the kitchen door, and those glasses of water would always seem to lead to a couple of scoops of ice cream provided by Pratt’s founder and matriarch, Janet. When Nick’s father discovered this, he secretly insisted on making weekly payments for the restaurant’s mounting ice cream bills. Jane Pratt saw something special in Nick and soon he was working at the Inn as a busboy. In short order he found himself in the kitchen assisting chef Jonathan Pratt. After high school, while continuing to evolve at Pratt’s, Nick attended the Culinary Institute of America. With his refined skills and matching talent, Nick rose to Executive Chef, earning the Inn its highest ever Zagat rating.
In September 2013, Nick opened his first restaurant, Madison Kitchen Larchmont. Shortly before finding a location for his as yet unnamed restaurant, Nick competed on Food Network’s hit TV show, Chopped. In a performance worth viewing (be sure and see the Chopped “Brunch Basket” episode), Di Bona secured his victory in the dessert round by sprinting to the ice cream machine and creating a masterful Sabayon of vodka infused maple syrup ice cream, crumbled waffle and Canadian bacon. Nick’s career milestones always seem to start with ice cream. His latest venture is small batch Bona Bona Ice Cream. BB is an evolving collection of delicious, imaginative flavors, currently being sold in regional restaurants, pizza parlors and country clubs, with an exciting expansion of the brand in the works.
SMORGASBURG: April through October, Bona Bona joins about 100 local food vendors for this incredible open-air market, which now happens on weekends at two locations.
SATURDAYS: WILLIAMSBURG, EAST RIVER STATE PARK 11a-6p
SUNDAYS: PROSPECT PARK - BREEZE HILL 11a-6p
If you haven't been to Smorgasburg, get down there one of these weekends. 20-30,000 people EACH WEEKEND can't be wrong!