About the Chefs

Meet Chef Kristen Nicoll

Chef de Cuisine

I am originally from San Diego, California, where I obtained my degree in psychology at San Diego State University. Additionally, I attended The Art Institute of San Diego for my bachelor's in culinary management. I have two boys named Cameron and Liam and a daughter Emma. After California, my family and I moved to Virginia Beach to support my husband's growing military career for the past 12 years.

Three years ago, my husband was in an almost fatal skydiving accident which caused us to change course and gear up for retirement earlier than expected. We decided to move to The Villages to be closer to my husband's family. We purchased a home in Middleton and are feeling very blessed to be a part of this wonderful culture and the growing community.

I have worked in the restaurant industry since I was 14 years old and before that I admired watching my mother work in hospitality as well. My experience ranges from back of the house to front of the house. I have helped open numerous restaurants, and owned my own catering company while we were in Virginia.

My inspiration as a chef, is to cook food that will inspire others to go out and make their own dishes. I loved watching my grandmother and aunts cook in the kitchen, making recipes of their own for our family gatherings.

A specialty for me is healthy, fresh dishes that are easily obtainable for everyone to make. With this, my goal for The Show Kitchen is to provide my personal knowledge of nutrition by substituting flavorful, health-conscious ingredients that meet dietary needs, especially as we get a little older in life. I also am really looking forward to building partnerships at The Show Kitchen within The Villages community.

My whole journey has been unique because I didn't start pursuing this career until I was much older and a mother. Like my idol, Julia Child, I couldn't have accomplished this dream of sharing my love for cooking, without the support of my husband and family. Being able to support my husband during his military career for as long as I did and to now have him return the favor for me - it genuinely fills my heart with joy.

Our whole staff agrees when we say our most important take away for guests of The Show Kitchen is to have fun, enjoy the experience, learn fundamentals of cooking, and feel as though our kitchen is part of their home.

A recipe is just a recommendation for you to let your creative mind go nuts. Just because it's on a recipe card or in a recipe book, doesn't mean that you will fail if you try and make it your own. Many times, we learn best through our failures.

Meet Chef Kimberly Schwind

Sous Chef

Kimberly SchwindI have been working in the food industry since I was 15 years old and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2010 with my associate in science. I have been working for The Villages for over 10 years and have helped open four restaurants here, three of those are owned by FMK - Bluefin Chophouse and Harvest. I was the production manager for their company, and I owe Fred Karimipour and his team a lot for giving me the quality experience and skills I possess today. I have long held the desire to teach people how to cook, when the opportunity to work in The Show Kitchen presented itself, Fred was very encouraging and supported me fully.

I am married with two boys, aged 10 and 16. They both attend The Villages Charter School and I feel blessed to work in a place that provides an excellent education for them.

As a Florida native, my dad's side of our family dates to the 1800's when my great grandfather, Newton Pendleton Yowell, opened the first four-story store in downtown Orlando. At the time this was one of the largest structures in town. This was when the roads were still all dirt, and everyone thought he was crazy for building a skyscraper - because that is what they considered a skyscraper back then!

The biggest influence for my love of food and wanting to create dishes, came from my nana, Barbara Schwind. It was always exciting being at my Nana's house. She would host the biggest family gatherings with so much food and everyone would be in the kitchen interacting with one another. Those are the best memories I have as a child. My mom, Tammy Schwind, was very supportive of me being in the kitchen and showed me how to cook different recipes as well.

I started watching the Food Network when I was nine because I was so interested in learning how to cook everything. I realized I loved making people happy with my food. As I got older, I would throw my own gatherings and it filled me with so much joy.

I love experimenting with new dishes, but I have a strong passion for Southern comfort food. I think at a young age I understood that cooking was never going to be a job - it is a passion! Cooking is one of the great gifts you can give to those you love and care for.

A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal - and I am truly excited to share that story with everyone in The Villages.