The New Mexico born, but Wyoming bred, Nick Erven began cooking after the breakup of a short-lived punk band he fronted out of Fresno, CA. With minimal experience outside of making pizzas and washing dishes in Italian restaurants, he enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu at The California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena.
Fifteen months later he began working at Em Bistro in West Hollywood and within a year, he had worked himself to the sous chef position and maintained the role till the closure of the restaurant. Through mutual friends he was introduced to Seth Greenberg (l'orangerie, Cuisine Francais Chicago), Amy Pressman (Short Order, Short Cake) and Jim Hustead (The Foundry on Melrose, Maré, Greenspan's Grilled Cheese) and was offered a job as sous chef at Biggs in Long Beach, CA. After an almost three year tenure he went to work for Michael Bryant and David Haskell at Bin 8945 in West Hollywood then LOLO in Portland, Oregon.
Erven returned to Los Angeles to assist Greenberg as Chef de Cuisine for the Penthouse Restaurant at the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica where he held the post for four years. After decamping from the hotel he was hired as the Executive Chef of Mess Hall in Los Feliz and helped garner much attention including glowing reviews from the LA Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. Wanting to return to the hotel industry, Erven was approached by Hustead to revamp the culinary operations for Tart restaurant at the Farmers Daughter Hotel.
Soon after, Erven and Hustead opened Saint Martha in June of 2014. The small restaurant, in a grungy strip mall in the heart of Korea town was immediately a critical success. Garnering local as well as national press including LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, cover of “30 Chefs to Watch” by Plate magazine and Restaurant Hospitality’s “15 to Watch” in 2015, Saint Martha was also featured in Los Angeles Magazine, Angeleno, and LA Confidential.
Erven then partnered with Midcourse Hospitality Group (Jim Hustead, Eric Greenspan and James Moon) to open his namesake restaurant, Erven, a plant based new American cuisine restaurant in Santa Monica, Ca. The restaurant garnered immediate accolades receiving acknowledgments such as best new restaurant on the cover of Los Angeles Magazine, one of the best new restaurants in the country by Thrillist National, also landed on LA Weekly’s best new restaurant list and Jonathan Gold’s 101 best restaurant list for the LA Times. It has also been featured in Bon Appetite, Food & Wine and Esquire.
Nick lives in Venice Beach with his wife Betsy and daughter, Perla.