Meet the Chef
CHEF NICHOLAS SELLERS
Chef Nicholas Sellers grew up in rural Whiteville, North Carolina. Like all aspiring chefs, he learned a lot about food and cooking from his mother and grandmother and was cooking family meals by the age of 10. After high school, he quickly found himself working in restaurants and learning the ins and outs of the business. By age 21, he had moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, to explore the exciting restaurant scene the city had to offer. He can now be found putting his spin on Southern classics at The Basics and turning brunch into our favorite mealtime.
What makes THE BASICS RESTAURANT unique?
We take classic Southern staples and put our culinary twist on them. Many of our dishes are family recipes that have been handed down and cultivated into what our menu is today by the founder of The Basics, Mary Long. We strive for our customers to have that unique experience dining with us.
How would you describe the type of food you like to cook?
Brunch food. A lot of chefs despise cooking brunch with a passion. I enjoy the wide range of brunch dishes and the ability to get very creative when planning brunch specials. To me there is just something about the bustling, fast pace environment that I really love about it. It’s quite a monster, and can be very unforgiving unless you know what you’re doing and can keep up.
What motivates and inspires you as a chef?
I would say my team, The Basics kitchen staff. I literally could not do this without them and can’t take all the credit for our success by any means. My sous chef, Christie Webb, motivates me just by being one of the hardest workers I've ever met. I’m always trying to out-do myself and set the culinary bar higher, and when you have a team that believes in you, it pushes you to your furthest limits.
What might diners NOT know about you?
The amount of time and preparation that goes into a lot of our dishes. We smoke our own meats in house overnight. Everything you see on the menu we prepare daily and we don’t take any shortcuts. It takes a lot of effort but it’s worth it in every way. We take much pride in that.
Current favorite dish on THE BASICS menu.
The Shrimp and Grits will probably always be my favorite dish. It’s the epitome of comfort food.
Favorite local produce and how do you use it?
I love working with Seaview Crab Company and getting fresh fish. Being a coastal city, I try to embrace what it has to offer because many of our diners aren’t necessarily from the area. I also really enjoy working with Tera Vita farms who supply us with great local produce and microgreens.
Best foodie city?
In my experience of traveling I would have to say Washington D.C. which kind of surprised me. The city is a melting pot of different cultures with a variety of young and aspiring chefs bringing new ideas and breaking the mold.
What’s your all-time best comfort food?
Fish… and specifically Sushi. There is an art to it that is unlike any other cuisine in my opinion. Also Dim Sum, which goes hand and hand when going to a nice sushi restaurant.
Describe the best meal you’ve ever eaten.
This Korean fried chicken spot in Victoria, Canada, called Chimac. It had everything I could ever want in fried chicken. I still think about it quite often and It’s almost worth making a trip back to Canada for.
3 songs on your current playlist?
Future Islands - “Vireo’s Eye”
If there’s one important piece of advice you might have for cooks, what might that be?
My advice would be that no matter how hard things get, keep pushing and don’t lose your passion, which was difficult for me to do during the height of the Covid shutdown. Being a chef is about being creative and adapting to the obstacles in front of you. There are people in this industry that will criticize you and not believe in your abilities… don’t listen to them. I had to figure that out for myself.
THE BASICS IS OPEN FOR:
LUNCH 11:15-3P M-F
DINNER 5-9 M-SAT
WEEKEND BRUNCH 10A - 3P SAT AND SUN
319 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC