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Interview with the Steelbound Chef: Nathan Abraszek

By Zack Dunham

Chef Nathan Abraszek’s journey as a chef began at the young age of five, helping his family’s catering company by cutting vegetables with them on the weekends. Abraszek said that his parents always told him that he should learn to cook, so he took that advice and ran with it. When he was about twelve years old, he began working at Olympia restaurant, where he says he learned a lot from the previous owner, Sammy. From there, his formal culinary training began at the LoGuidice Center in Fredonia, then onto Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, New York for both an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree. He attended Paul Smith’s College on a scholarship, but his academic career there had some major ups and downs. Abraszek said that at one point, his GPA got as low as 1.8, but after a talk with the dean, he realized that he needed to buckle down and work hard. From that point on,he was going to class and working on classwork for 19 hours a day, and through his hard work and perseverance, he was able to raise his GPA to 3.74 by the time he graduated. “Sometimes you have to get woken up to realize what’s important in life,” says Abraszek.

After graduation, Abraszek had a slew of jobs before reaching Steelbound, including: Disney (running a Shula’s Steakhouse and working banquets) for nearly ten years, Butera’s in Hamburg, the Buffalo Chophouse, Cloverbank Country Club (formerly Brierwood Country Club), and finally a sous chef position at Uncle Joe’s. He also ran his own farm with pigs, cows, and grapes while working at the Buffalo Chophouse. He finally came to Steelbound after seeing a job posting online and preparing a tasting for the people in charge. The Steelbound people liked what he prepared for them, and now he has been there for a year and a half, and hopes to be there for the foreseeable future. “This is the first company I’ve got to work for that I can actually say is more like a home and less like a job, even though I spend 70-some hours a week there,” Abraszek said with a laugh.

When asked about his involvement with the menu development at Steelbound, Abraszek said that it is mostly entirely his work, and that they are preparing some exciting changes to the menu coming soon. He states that about 80% of the menu is getting overhauled, with only a few items staying: the Bacon Blue Balls Burger, cheese curds, gorgonzola steak alfredo, and cajun chicken alfredo. He did not go into detail about any of the new items they are planning to introduce, but he sounded like it will definitely be something to look forward to in the future. He stated that he will likely be working on the menus for the two upcoming Steelbound locations as well.

Now that you have heard all about the man, why not check out his food? The Springville location of Steelbound is open from 12pm to 8pm Tuesday through Thursday, 12pm to 10pm Friday and Saturday, and 12pm to 8pm on Sunday and is located at 243 West Main Street. For more information about upcoming events (like the Gowanda Harley Davidson Event) or their current menu, check out their website!

Springville Location:

243 West Main Street Springville, NY 14141

(716) 794-3555

Ellicottville Location:

6600 US-219 Ellicottville, NY 14731

(716) 699-2042

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