New Restaurant – Sauce Nouvelle – Set to Open Soon in the now Refurbishing Winslow Mall
Sometimes the world can be a pretty small place. Just ask Nicholas Ganea, the Australian-born owner and proprietor of Sauce Nouvelle, a cozy, little soup and sandwich shop that’s about to open soon in the Winslow Mall.
It turns out Ganea is a friend of Tamas Ronyai, the owner, along with his wife, Fiona, of L’Atelier TR, a sophisticated candy store located in a suite in the former Virginia Mason Clinic building at 390 Winslow Way E.
Well before he moved to Bainbridge Island and opened his new business, Ganea took Ronyai’s advice and went to France, where he learned the ins and outs of being a chef at a Michelin-style restaurant in Lyon, France – eventually meeting up again with his old friend.
Ganea further refined his culinary chops by attending a school in Cap d’Agda in the south of France. “I ended up being where I wanted to be in Lyon because of that school,” he says.
The 34-year-old Ganea’s family has deep Australian roots. His mom remarried in 2002 and the family relocated to the States, eventually ending up in Des Moines, south of Tacoma. It was about this time that he began honing his craft while attending the Puget Sound Skills Center and Renton Technical College.
After his sojourn to the south of France, he logged time working in restaurants in Chicago, California and New York, before returning to the Puget Sound and reconnecting with Ronyai – and subsequently – discovering the island. “I didn’t have any reason to come over here other than to meet with Tamas,” Ganea recalls. “I was more or less a casual tourist.”
On one visit to the rock, Ganea was “trying to buy a chocolate machine from him” when Ronyai offered, “why don’t you open a restaurant here?” Ganea noodled the idea for a bit and not long after Ronyai was introducing him to John Fisher, the co-owner, along with his wife, Shawna, of the Winslow Mall. The Fisher’s are sprucing up the mall and seeking new tenants, such as Ganea and his Sauce Nouvelle.
Ganea’s new restaurant is located in a space in the rear of the mall that was once occupied by Covet Boutique, a woman’s apparel store. “I’ve turned the whole thing into a kitchen,” he says of the roughly 850-square-foot space.
Initially, Sauce Nouvelle will have inside seating for about 10 people, with additional tables and chairs available just outside in the mall’s atrium area. It will specialize in a take-out menu that will include soups, ranging from $9 to $10, and a variety of sandwiches up to $15 each. The inside area also features a beautiful wall-sized mural of island history painted by Bainbridge artist Cory Barrett.
Ganea, who also spent time working at Canlis – one of Seattle’s finest eateries as a pastry helper – fancies himself something of a “Molecular Gastronomer”. Simply put, molecular gastronomy, or progressive cuisine, is a movement that incorporates science and new techniques in the preparation, transformation and artistic presentation of food.
Some of Sauce Nouvelle’s offerings will no doubt reflect Ganea’s “playing with flavors,” as well as his creation of basil oils that are centrifuged and aged for up to two weeks.
His creativity, he admits, is the result of his partnership with Brandan Purdy, a fellow islander and scientist who works for Alta Sciences Preclinic & Bioanalysis Services in Seattle. “He’s the paperwork guy, the motivator and my collaborator,” says Ganea. “With his curiosity and my curiosity, we’re unstoppable.”
Eventually, Ganea says, he’d like to serve breakfast in his new eatery. He might get some help in that regard from his wife, Erin, who is also launching a new restaurant upstairs in the mall, to be called Surcee. The shop will be housed in a 565-square foot-space and will provide pastries to Sauce Nouvelle, as well as a forthcoming coffee shop. Surcee will also serve walk-up customers.
Ganea, who admits to being a bit of a serial entrepreneur, has dabbled in many different jobs and occupations in his relatively short lifetime, from washing cars to serving as a personal chef, and even doing some “loan sharking” in the past. Like a lot of younger business folks, Ganea is comfortable communicating through social media. Here’s where you can find some of this information:
Meanwhile, a handful of other Bainbridge restaurants and food businesses have changed hands over the past several months. They include: the Treehouse Café in Lynwood Center, Plate & Pint in the Island Village Shopping Center, the Agate Pass Café, adjacent to BIMA, the historic Streamline Diner, next to the Chamber of Commerce, Amelia Wynn Bistro, just across the street, and Bon Bon Chocolates on Winslow Way. We will wait and see if any obvious changes happen with these signature establishments.
The Island Wanderer previously wrote about Coquette Bake Shop moving from the Winslow Mall to the Winslow Green. The bakery officially opened its doors in its new locale in April.
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