Howell Senior Survivor on his way to culinary success
Nick Mannisto was on a cooking campout in 2008 with his scout troop when he entered a competition to see who could create the best meal.
He had the choice to make anything available, and eventually cooked up a roasted chicken in a Dutch oven over a fire. He won the competition.
Little did Mannisto know that the chicken cuisine he created would pave the way for his passion of culinary arts.
Mannisto, now a senior at Howell High School, is fully committed to a dream of owning his own restaurant, which he has already named “Rosemary” as it is his favorite herb, and he plans to have a garden growing on the roof of the building.
“I like the feeling of looking at a dish and saying, ‘I made that,’” Mannisto says. “The foods I have made over my high school years have molded the way I cook in the kitchen.”
While those at school may recognize him as an integral part of the Highlander Restaurant, little do some know about his other accomplishments.
Mannisto, who lives with his mom, Debbie, dad, Mark, and brother, Luke, grew up as a scout, where he learned the values of life such as working hard, helping others, and contributing in a positive way in the community.
“Scouts helped mold me into the person I am today and in my future,” Mannisto says. “With the leadership skills I’ve gained through scouts, I feel like I can do anything if I set my mind to it.”
Although he discovered his passion with his troop, Mannisto’s crowning achievement came in July of 2011 when he was honored with the title of an Eagle Scout.
To become an Eagle Scout, Mannisto had to earn approximately 25 merit badges ranging from CPR to swimming to money management. In addition, Mannisto worked to complete an intense community service project in which he spent 180 hours organizing and building a memorial garden at his church, Heart of the Shepherd in Howell.
“Completing this project made me feel as if I could conquer bigger and better things in the future,” he says.
The restaurant he plans to own is one of those bigger and better things in Mannisto’s bright future.
After he graduates this year, Mannisto, who is an avid guitar player, will begin classes at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. There, he plans on taking courses in Schoolcraft’s prestigious culinary arts program.
“I feel like attending Schoolcraft will bring my game to the next level,” he says confidently.
Not that it’s all ready at a high level. Mannisto serves as the assistant manager at the Highlander Restaurant and already has experience in the kitchen at places such as Pure and Simple Catering and the Moose Grille at Moose Ridge Golf Course.
Mannisto also took some time off from the kitchen to compete in this year’s Senior Survivor competition. Mannisto, who represented Team Orange, says that he looked forward to the challenge of the competition and was excited to fundraise for a good cause, the Arc of Livingston.
While he took the competition incredibly seriously, his charitable background proves that Mannisto is willing to do anything to help out the greater good.
Whether you find him in the kitchen or out in the community, you can bet on one thing: A restaurant called “Rosemary” will be treated to rave reviews, and it won’t be a coincidence that Mannisto is at the helm.