Philanthropist Marianna restaurant owner bringing home the title of World Chef Champion

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MARIANNA, Fla. (WTVY)- The owner of The Salt Block in Marianna is now a World Chef Champion, but unlike most of the other competitors, this title came with some added obstacles.

Nick Rickman the Head Chef and Owner of The Salt Block restaurant says "As Hurricane Michael approached we were going to update our menu, then the internet got knocked out and it knocked out our entire communications so to make a long story short I had three trees on my house and was trapped inside….our home was pretty much wrecked".

After the hurricane, Nick saw the condition of his community, and knew what he wanted to do.

Nick says "I said well we can at least start feeding people and that's what we did and we called on Operation Barbecue Relief".

Nick and Operation Barbecue Relief joined forces to feed thousands a hot meal for weeks……all while Nick continued to prepare for the World Food Championship.

Nick says that "Most people, in my position, having a competition in just a couple weeks would have said 'this is it, there's no way that I’m going'. That would have been the last thing on peoples mind, but this is something that I’ve worked hard for".

Nick’s grandfather is his inspiration for cooking, and he is also the reason Nick went on to compete in the World Food Championship just weeks after Hurricane Michael.

After the hurricane Nick says that "I looked out across the sky and you know its lightning, you know how you see images in the clouds that appear to be something, I saw something that looked like my grandfather, a cloud, and at that point I knew, I told myself I’m going to the world food championship and I’m going to win".

And he did; now when you stop by The Salt Block in Marianna, your food will be prepared by a world champion chef.

Nick says "It comes from here (points to heart), it comes from passion you have to care about what you're doing, you have to care about the ingredients, and you have to care about the people that you’re feeding".