Nick Middleton PachecoMexican-American

Pan Seared Scallops on Mole Verde
culinary arts, 2023


“It’s so hard to define yourself through a dish, when the whole reason you cook is to figure yourself out in the first place.

If there was one plate in particular that we’ve put out that best encapsulates my history and heritage it would be pan seared sea scallops on mole verde. My mother, Ninfa Pacheco, was my first teacher in the kitchen. Her tomatillo salsas were stuff of legend. This charred tomatillo based mole is an homage to her. While my father, Paul Middleton, worked at the port fixing shrimp boats and we’d oftentimes get paid in seafood.

Bridging the gap between the two cultures, while simultaneously realizing that I am that bridge, has been a constant theme on our menus and will continue to be.” —N.M.P.


Nick Middleton is the head chef and owner of Y Comida at Bader Ranch. He hails from Port Isabel, Texas and grew up with crawfish boils on Saturdays and barbacoa on Sundays. Obsessed with food from an early age, Nick’s first restaurant concept came at age 10, when he ran a restaurant out of the family living room for his parents' anniversary complete with waitstaff (a patient sister with a painted on mustache), table settings, a menu and drink pairings. 

Since those beginnings, Nick’s gone on to have his food featured at events such as the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, EAST, Elephant’s Table, and 100’s of private bookings throughout central Texas. Before leaving New Orleans to return back to Austin, The Gambit named him a rising chef to watch due to his popular roaming Grita pop up concept. Once back in Austin he continued to hone his skills on the opening team for Loro, as well as Outstanding in the Field and an array of private events. Nick is also the flavor designer for Zed’s ice cream.

Nick’s menu draws from his father’s Louisiana background and his mother’s Mexican roots and he uses his dual citizenship to continuously go in search of deeper flavors. Nick currently operates from his Round Top restaurant seasonally every March, October, and January as well as accepting 20 annual private event bookings.