During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.
Chef Greg Nicolaou just celebrated his sixth anniversary at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI. this past March. He takes great pride in the success of the lodge and looks forward to the opportunity to mentor rising chefs. With over 18 years of culinary experience, Chef Nicolaou has a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise.
Chef Nicolaou served as the the founding President of the Northwestern Michigan Chef’s Association, and also voted Chef of the Year by his peers. As the Leader of the Pack in 2010, Chef Nicolaou has a contagious passion for cooking and creating unique family moments at each of his restaurants.
Great Wolf Lodge – How have you made menu items at the Great Wolf Lodge healthier options for guests?
Chef Nicolaou – I think that braising foods is something I’ve done throughout my career, and can be done with a variety of meat cuts. Braising can be made very healthy by using very little fat, starch, and bringing fresh vegetables and herbs to the center of the plate.
GWL – Have you created a unique dish only found at Great Wolf Lodge?
Chef Nicolaou – We do a couple of very authentic Greek dishes at the Lodge. They have been very well received by the guests. These dishes range from a pita sandwich made with marinated lamb sirloin, and imported feta cheese to a marinated double semi-boneless chicken breast baked and served with stewed green beans and fresh rice pilaf.
GWL – What is your biggest passion in in general?
Chef Nicolaou – I really enjoy cooking items that my wife, family, and friends. We harvest from our gardens, fields, wetlands and woods in the area and find it very rewarding. The opportunity to create unique cuisine from local bounty of our Northern Michigan foods is very fulfilling.
GWL – What would you like to tell an aspiring chef?
Chef Nicolaou – I tell young and aspiring culinarians they should absolutely love high temperature, high pressure, and excitement of working in a constantly changing environment. I try and let them know that educating themselves and training staff never ends. Also, I try and let them know that their chosen profession is both physically and mentally very demanding, and to go in with their eyes wide open.
GWL – What makes being a chef at Great Wolf Lodge so special?
Chef Nicolaou – Several things actually, first off I’d say the families and kids so wide-eyed with excitement. We have a very professional culinary team and everyone works together. The management from the top down seems genuinely and sincerely concerned about the education, safety and training of all staff.