Hailing from Rensselaerville, NY, Chef Brisson’s culinary journey began in a family deeply rooted in the culinary world. Her grandfather owned a restaurant that her mother grew up working in. Her mother also inspired Nicole’s passion for fresh, sustainable ingredients by utilizing the produce from their home garden and neighboring farms at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. At 15, she kick-started her career in a local farm-to-table restaurant.
Driven by her culinary aspirations, Chef Brisson pursued her culinary education at Johnson & Wales University and further honed her skills in Italy. Immersed in the rich culinary traditions, she trained under renowned chefs like Fabio Picchi and Chef Dario Cecchini, expanding her knowledge of Italian cuisine and the art of butchering.
In 2005, an exciting opportunity led Chef Brisson to Las Vegas, where she flourished in the city’s finest Italian restaurants, including Corsa Cucina and Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare. She later assumed the role of Culinary Director for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, overseeing multiple acclaimed concepts.
With a passion for pushing boundaries, Chef Brisson ventured off the Strip and opened Locale Italian Kitchen, delighting diners with a blend of “la cucina povera” and elevated American-Italian cuisine. Her dedication to sourcing ingredients from small farms and authentic Italian suppliers garnered praise and established her as a beloved culinary leader in Las Vegas.
Chef Brisson opened Brezza in 2021, providing her signature authentic, yet modern coastal Italian cuisine to locals and visitors alike. Soon after, she debuted neighboring Bar Zazu, a lively restaurant and lounge with globally-inspired shareable plates, a curated fortified wine program with rare and unique labels, premium cocktails, and incredible art elements within a whimsical space unlike any other.
Over the years, Chef Brisson has won multiple accolades including Desert Companion’s 2022 “Restaurant of the Year” and “Chef of the Year,” Eater’s 2021 “Restaurant of the Year,” Silver State Awards “Best Chef 2021” award, Food & Wine’s “Best Steak in the US” award for CarneVino, the National Restaurant Association’s “Best New Restaurant” award, VEGAS INC.’s 40 under 40, Wine Spectator’s coveted Award of Excellence, and she was nominated as a semifinalist for the 2020 James Beard Best Chef: Southwest Award. She has competed and appeared on several popular reality TV shows including “Chopped,” “Late Night Chef Fight,” Action Bronson’s “MUNCHIES,” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” among others.
Brisson remains dedicated to her craft and committed to keeping it simple, always sourcing seasonal, sustainable ingredients, and serves as a respected member of organizations such as Three Square Food Bank’s Culinary Council, the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund, and the Slow Food USA Executive Board.