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Nelson German

Executive Chef/Owner

Chef Nelson German spotlights his two-decade culinary journey with an emphasis on the Mediterranean roots of Cajun food at the beloved Oakland staple, alaMar Kitchen & Bar. A Michelin-recommended seafood destination that opened in 2014, alaMar Kitchen focuses on dishes German grew up on that his mom and grandmother would cook. He brings his own unique take to these family recipes that’s been shaped by his travels through Spain, France, and Italy for a delicious interpretation on Cajun cooking and culture. 

“I want people to feel like they’re traveling to the coast of France eating shrimp with a great sauce and bread,” says Nelson German. “Come eat delicious seafood with your hands, get messy, and have a blast while watching the 49ers and Warriors’ games.” 

Born and bred in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, German began his career in New York City at the popular seafood destination Joseph’s Citarella and the Gramercy Park Hotel with Chef Yugi Wakiya, from whom he learned refined approaches to Asian flavors. Six years after graduating from culinary school, German became Executive Chef at Absinthe Wine Bar (NYC) and Jerry’s Cafe (NYC). In 2010, German and his wife moved to Northern California and he continued to immerse himself in studying the art of Mediterranean cuisine while cooking through his European travels.

Rave media reviews of his Braised Oxtail, Garlic Udon Noodles, Dungeness and Snow Crabs, Shrimp Tacos “Quesa Style,” and Salmon Tiradito garnered German an appearance on Bravo TV’s Top Chef (Season 18). He’s paved his way to national notoriety (highlights in Glamour, Delish, Washington Post, Food & Wine, and commercials for Coca Cola, Impossible Foods, and Pam Cooking Spray) while establishing himself as a community leader and curator of Oakland culture. German was named one of Plate magazine's “2020 Chefs to Watch.”

German is among the celebrity chefs at the upcoming prestigious Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival (September 2022). He’s a featured panelist at Culinary Institute of America’s “Worlds of Flavor” International Conference and Festival (Napa, Calif., November 2021), and German participated in the James Beard Foundation’s “Summer Taste America” culinary series.

Food & Wine Magazine's "2021 Best New Chef" Matt Horn of Horn BBQ says, “For a fancy night out, I start at chef Nelson German's seafood spot, alaMar Kitchen & Bar. I order the garlic udon noodles, served with a fried egg on top, and head-on Cajun shrimp…”