exec chef/owner

nelson german

Top Chef Portland (Season 18) Contestant

Chef Nelson shares the story of his culinary journey through his cooking.  Born and bred in uptown Manhattan’s Washington Heights, in Uptown Manhattan, German worked countless hours in New York City restaurants, including Joseph's Citarella and Gramercy Park Hotel.  

He spent time studying the art of simple Mediterranean cuisine through his travels to Spain, France and Italy. He learned local, seasonal, sustainable California cuisine at SupperClub SF.


AlaMar, a Michelin-recommended seafood spot in Oakland, marked the first venture born from German's love and passion for creating art with his food. His talents have garnered rave reviews from San Francisco Chronicle andOaklandmagazine and earned him spots at the prestigious Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival and Chefsfeed Indie Week Portland. He was also commissioned to showcase California Cuisine in Mexico City by Visit California.


German’s successful bar program at alaMar spurred a passion for creating art from cocktails and stoked a desire to bring something unique, vibrant and beautiful to his chosen home of Oakland. So, as an ode to his Latin American roots, German opened the Afro-Latino cocktail bar, Sobre Mesa, in March 2020. The term Sobre Mesa (literally “on the table”) refers to what you do after your meal, when drinks continue and meaningful conversation begins. 


Sobre Mesa was forced to closed as a result of San Francisco Bay Area’s strict shelter-in-place order just two weeks after opening. When Sobre Mesa reopens in early 2021, German expects it to be an even more personal and multi-dimensional experience, with private cooking classes, weekly food & cocktail pairings and outdoor dining.