~ Nico ~
Co-founder of Great Things To Do, professional photographer and writer Nico Goodden was born in England in 1977 and raised in France.
His father flew for a major airline in the 70's and 80's and by the age of 11, Nico had already travelled a few times around the World, which ingrained in him a deep love for travel and exceptional, sometimes unusual food.
From fly fishing wild salmon in Alaska’s freezing rivers to swimming with sharks in Bora Bora and discovering sushi in Tokyo... for a kid in the 80’s this was an education better than any school could ever have provided.
Nico also cooked from an early age. Initially just licking chocolate laden spoons his culinary talented mother handed him.
Increasingly inspired by her and with a chocolate addiction spiralling out of control, at the age of 14, he left his tiny French village to live with his sister in the big city.
The next five years would be spent in French cookery schools between Tours and Paris. The highlight of that time was without a doubt his two year apprenticeship at the world famous Grand Hotel InterContinental, right across Place de L'Opera in Paris.
Disheartened by how a majority of old school chefs thought necessary to shout and swear in order to be heard, and to protect his passion for food, Nico decided to never work in a restaurant kitchen again.
Moving from France to London in 1999 at the age of 22 was the best decision Nico ever made and he decided from that moment on to shift his career towards luxury hotel management at the time working for the InterContinental Mayfair in Stratton Street.
But working unsociable hours for a pittance was the reality of working in hotels at the time and for Nico something had to change.
It's in 2008 that he realised photography had in-fact been staring at him all along and it quick became his newfound passion, one he'd never let go and one that'd change his professional and personal life forever.
His last full-time role, between 2013 and 2018, was Head of Sales & Marketing for a division of the Singapore owned luxury hospitality company, COMO Hotels and Resorts. He increased the company's revenue dramatically and consistently during that time.
Nico has now worked a total of 22 years in luxury hospitality, from a restaurant waiter to the kitchen and pastry departments, room service, housekeeping, reservation, reception, guest relations, duty management and sales & marketing.
One could say he knows luxury hotels quite well.
Today Nico is an established professional photographer / blogger and social media influencer published over 70 times in the likes of Time Out, The Huffington Post, Evening Standard, Guardian and many other major international publications.
As of 2018, his photography blog ranks number 4 in the top 100 UK Photography Blogs and receives over a 1/4 million visits a year.
He gives regular talks at photography schools and his work is collected internationally. All a direct result of over 10 years of hard work improving his photography paired with strong digital marketing skills.
With over 100,000 followers across social media channels, Nico produces commercial photography and cinemagraphs for clients including Adidas, Jose Cuervo, Amazon, Sony, AEG and many more.
Since their move to the country in October 2017, Nico has reignited his passion for creativity and using his hands to make things and give life to various projects. His workshop and vegetable garden are his pride and joy and so is Babette his 1964 Citroen 2CV aka "The Great Things To Do-Mobile"
Food, Photography, Travel and Chrystall are Nico’s life.