Born in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico in one of the last remaining rain forests of the world, “El Yunque,” Nelson Millán, Executive Chef of The San Antonio Country Club, San Antonio, Texas began his professional career at an early age in his homeland.
Although he began his early career in Puerto Rico, cooking was not his initial choice of a career. Nelson was just a year away from finishing his studies in Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico, when an opportunity arose at the School of Hotel and Tourism in San Juan. Twenty-five culinary scholarships were offered up to the most qualified applicants. He applied and was accepted among 364 applicants. Over the next two years, he studied intensely in the classroom as well as the kitchen. Upon graduation, Nelson accepted an internship with Hilton Hotels.
Chef Nelson’s career started taking off when he begin competing nationally and internationally as part of the Junior, and later Senior, Team of the American Culinary Federation. Following numerous competitions in Puerto Rico, South Carolina and New York, and after winning several gold and silver medals, Chef Nelson continued his travels from the Caribe Hilton in San Juan to the Aruba Hilton, and ultimately the Noga Hilton in Geneva, Switzerland to sharpen his already superior culinary skills.
Upon his return to Puerto Rico, he opened and operated a very successful casual restaurant in Downtown Rio Grande for 3 years. However, his heart was in the Club and Hotel industry, which he re-entered as Chef Garde Manger of the Westin Rio Mar, soon working his way up to Assistant Executive Chef of their Country Club.
In 1999, Chef Nelson moved to Coronado, California, where he assumed the position of Chef Garde Manger at the prestigious Forbes 5 star / AAA 5 diamond Hotel Del Coronado. Chef Nelson soon progressed to become Chef de Cuisine at their fine dining and casual restaurants.
In 2002 Nelson moved to South Florida with his family to join Ocean Reef Club’s elite Culinary Team as Chef Garde Manger. He quickly dazzled everyone with his impressive culinary skills which include carving spectacular ice sculptures and producing extravagant gourmet dinners. Chef Nelson’s roots in Caribbean cuisine, combined with French techniques, have proven to be a successful combination; so successful, in fact, that in 2004, he traveled to New York, NY, with a select few Ocean Reef Club chefs to cook a memorable Caribbean dinner at the prestigious James Beard House. In 2005, Chef Nelson was pointed Chef de Cuisine to open the newly rebuilt Galley restaurant with great success.
In 2007 Chef Nelson moved to The Golden Isles, GA, to open the New Beach Club at The Cloister Sea Island, GA. an exclusive resort community in the Atlantic Coast. A location with breathtaking surroundings and ultra luxury that hosted the G-8 summit in 2004. Sea Island Company made history in 2009 becoming the first company in the world to get 4 properties rated 5 Forbes Stars/AAA 5 Diamond within the same company.
In addition to his culinary talent, Chef Nelson is a very accomplished musician; he enjoys reading, business entrepreneurship and spending quality time with his wife and two kids in his new hometown San Antonio, Texas.