Chef and Restaurateur Nelson German

Chef Nelson German

Chef and Restaurateur Nelson German

Chef Nelson German began his career in New York more than 20 years ago. Born and raised in Washington Heights, as an Afro-Latino of Dominican descent, his childhood is filled with memories of watching his mother and grandmother preparing some of his favorite dishes that have inspired the menus at his restaurant alaMar Kitchen & Bar and tapas bar Sobra Mesa.

Nelson started his culinary career at Joseph’s Citarella and with Chef Yugi Wakiya at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Under his tutelage with Chef Wakiya, he would learn how to refine cooking approaches to Asian flavors. Later in his career, he would study Mediterranean cuisine while cooking his way through France, Italy and Spain.

In 2010, Nelson moved to his wife’s hometown of Oakland where he would work in San Francisco before eventually stepping out on his own and opening his first seafood restaurant concept, alaMar Kitchen & Bar, in the city’s Uptown neighborhood in 2014.

His next concept would open briefly in March 2020 before COVID-19 shut cities down for months. He would later reopen it in 2021 as one of Oakland’s top cocktail lounges that put his identity as a Latino chef with roots traced back to Cameroon on full display through the intentional use of ingredients, spirits and dishes prepared. In April 2021, “Top Chef” fans were introduced to Nelson and Dominican cuisine as he appeared as a contestant on the show’s 18th season filmed in Portland.

During this episode, Nelson shares more about this journey that includes the ups and downs of being in a cutthroat industry as well as celebrating his own rhythm of cooking that honors his roots, his family and who he is a chef.

To learn more about Chef Nelson’s career, visit If you’re in Oakland, be sure to stop by and say hello at alaMar Kitchen & Bar or have a curated cocktail at Sobre Mesa. And with big things happening, follow Chef Nelson on Instagram for updates, events and more.

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