Erika Nakamura was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. At 17, she moved to the Upper West Side, finished high school, attended college, then enrolled at The French Culinary Institute (now The International Culinary Center). Nakamura worked in some of New York’s premier kitchens (including Blue Hill at Stone Barns), but once she was exposed to butchery, she was hooked.
Nakamura did a formal apprenticeship at Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, New York. Later, in 2010, she opened Lindy & Grundy's Meats in West Hollywood, California, a small butcher shop specializing in locally-sourced pasture-raised meats.
Nakamura has worked closely with renowned charcuterié Francois Vecchio, master butcher Karry Underly, and chef/butcher Michael Sullivan. She has toured for eight consecutive years with Brady lowe's Cochon 555 as headlining butcher and all-star. She is an ambassador member of the Butchers Guild and Kate Hill's Grrls Meat camp. In 2014, Nakamura was awarded a Rising Star Chef award in the category of Artisan Butcher.
Prior to starting the work to open White Gold Butchers, Nakamura was the protein consultant for April Bloomfield's Breslin. She worked to turn the meat program at the Breslin into a sustainable, whole-animal based program. She set up in-house dry aging facilities and made the top menu item, the lamb burger, as a completely whole animal, locally-sourced dish.
Nakamura teamed up with April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, and fellow butcher Jocelyn Guest to open White Gold Butchers on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in October, 2016. White Gold is a full-service, exclusively whole animal butcher shop and three-meal-a-day seasonal eatery. When she’s not at the shop, you’ll find Erika...just kidding, it’s a brand new business, so she’s always there.
Jocelyn Guest grew up a SPAM-eating Army brat. She moved every summer until she was 13, but considers herself a New Yorker because she just had her ten year anniversary.
After making the most logical career transition ever—comedy writer to butcher—Guest began as an apprentice at Lindy & Grundy in Los Angeles in 2012. She quickly moved up the ranks to General Manager of the retail shop and wholesale program. While in Los Angeles, Guest also ran a whole animal catering company. No matter the event, Guest centered conception and execution around her belief that you can and should use the whole animal.
After moving back to New York, Guest was the head butcher/cut room manager at Dickson's Farmstand Meats. She also ran Dicksons off-site catering arm, continuing to creatively utilize whole animals to maximize profit. During this time, Guest appeared in the background of The Next Food Network Star wherein she looked like someone who had lived in the woods for years and spontaneously got a job sawing meat.
Prior to starting the work to open White Gold Butchers, Guest consulted on April Bloomfield's Salvation Burger. Guest chose the farm, vetted slaughterhouses, and ensured that Salvation would be a whole animal establishment.
Guest teamed up with April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, and fellow butcher Erika Nakamura to open White Gold Butchers on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in October, 2016. White Gold is a full-service, exclusively whole animal butcher shop and three-meal-a-day seasonal eatery. When she’s not at the shop, you’ll find Jocelyn...just kidding, it’s a brand new business, so she’s always there.
April Bloomfield has spent most of her life in the kitchen and had the pleasure of working with some of the most revolutionary chefs before taking on a kitchen of her own. A native of Birmingham, England, April began her culinary studies at Birmingham College. From there, she went on to hone her craft through cook positions in various kitchens throughout London and Northern Ireland, including Kensington Place and Bibendum. It was under the guidance of Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray at The River Café where she learned to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of food.
Before moving to New York, April spent the summer of 2003 in Berkeley, California at the legendary Chez Panisse. In February 2004, April and restaurateur Ken Friedman opened New York City's first gastropub, The Spotted Pig. Under April's direction, The Spotted Pig has earned one star from the Michelin Guide for seven consecutive years, and since 2010, April & Ken's The Breslin Bar & Dining Room also earned one star two years in a row in the esteemed guidebook. As Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Chef," April continues to receive widespread attention for her food. In fall 2010, she and Ken opened The John Dory Oyster Bar, which joined The Breslin at New York's Ace Hotel and earned a glowing, two-star review from the New York Times. April's first cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, was published by Ecco in April 2012
Friedman wasn’t always a restaurateur. A Los Angeles native, he attended UC Berkeley where he discovered San Francisco’s lively music scene. The young Friedman left college to pursue a full-time career in music as a concert promoter, first independently and then working for the legendary Bill Graham. He moved to London to manage bands such as The Smiths and UB40, and then eventually found himself in New York City, working with the renowned Clive Davis at Arista Records.
When Friedman turned 40, he decided to make a career change, and friends suggested that he think about opening a restaurant. It seemed a natural fit; Friedman spent many nights frequenting New York City’s best restaurants while entertaining his clients, and friends continually offered to invest in his first project, sure that it would be a success.
They were right. In February 2004, he opened New York City’s first gastropub with chef April Bloomfield. The Spotted Pig has earned one star from the Michelin Guide for seven consecutive years and, in 2010, Friedman and Bloomfield’s The Breslin Bar & Dining Room has also earned one star two years in a row in the esteemed guidebook. In fall 2010, the duo opened The John Dory Oyster Bar, which joined The Breslin at New York’s Ace Hotel and recently earned a glowing, two-star review from The New York Times.