West End Restaurant chef got early start in culinary career
Nick Proffitt is one of the youngest — if not the youngest — certified chefs on the island. Proffitt, who graduated in 2008 from Le Cordon Bleu College Of Culinary Arts in Austin, was one of the very few people ever accepted to the college straight out of high school.
Proffitt’s first job after graduation was at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, where he worked at Olivette, the public restaurant on the property, and in the private “members only” Manor House, where he prepared meals for former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush on several occasions.
“It was an open kitchen and he would come up and talk to us,” Proffitt said of Bush. “It was surreal. We had to get background checked. I got home that night and told my parents, ‘I’m cooking for a former president of the United States.’”
After more than two years at The Houstonian, Proffitt decided he wanted to write his own menu and in 2010 became the executive chef at The West End Restaurant & Sandbar in Sea Isle overlooking Galveston Bay. Proffitt put together a menu that has had many customers making the scenic drive out to the island’s West End on a regular basis, some from as far away as Louisiana.
“Many people come for the pecan encrusted snapper and our steak,” Proffitt, 25, said. “I hand select the beef and hand cut each steak. The snapper is always fresh.”
Proffitt’s two days off each week generally find him in his Galveston home cooking up some of his favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, like a Southwestern burrito with chicken, mango and vegetables on a flour tortilla.
“I love traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine when I’m at home but I also do a lot of pastas, because it’s fast and filling,” he said. “Beef Stroganoff is one my favorite dishes to make at home as well. I love garlic and use tons of it in the Stroganoff.”
Proffitt found his passion for cooking when he was a very young boy sitting on the counter in his parents’ kitchen and watching his father, who did most of the cooking, prepare meals for the family.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for the support of my mom, my dad, my sister and friends,” he said. “They’ve all encouraged me each step of the way and push me to be the best I can be.”
The West End Restaurant grounds also are home to a full-service marina (including fuel and bait), general store and a fully licensed bar, known as the Sandbar. The restaurant is accessible by boat and car.
The West End Restaurant & Sandbar
21706 Burnet Drive, Galveston