Chef Michael G., Executive Chef, developed his love of culinary arts as a young child during his time spent harvesting fresh ingredients from the land his family farmed and watching these ingredients be transformed into family feasts. From this early interest in the kitchen, Chef Michael has successfully expanded his culinary calling to encompass numerous awards and nominations as well as national television and radio media appearances.
Chef Michael’s culinary creations are inspired by French, Sicilian, American, and other various ethnic and world cultures. His Sicilian heritage allows him to add the flair and wide range of bold flavors found in Mediterranean cooking to other cuisines. “The style of my food reflects exquisite, sophisticated, contemporary, American cuisine with Mediterranean influences,” says Chef Michael. “I focus on locally-grown products, seasonal ingredients, impeccable presentation, and cutting-edge menu choices to create a truly memorable dining experience.” A key element of Chef Michael’s philosophy is that food should be as fresh and as local as possible. He has a carefully cultivated network of area growers/suppliers who enable him to practice what he believes is best for procuring and serving food.
His ability to effortlessly assemble an exceptional dining experience has allowed Chef Michael to excel in his career. Mere months after graduating from the JNA Institute of the Culinary Arts in Philadelphia, he was awarded the “Chef of the Year Award” from the American Culinary Foundation (ACF) in 2002. Soon after, Chef Michael became the Executive Chef for the Peacock Inn’s Le Plumet Royaleand the four-star restaurant was awarded the distinguished James Beard Award for the “Great Country Inn Chef’s Series” in 2003. In 2006, Chef Michael’s laudable Chef of the Year nomination from Chef Magazine was followed by national recognition of being appointed the Celebrated Chef for the National Pork Board. He was also named Winning Chef for the National Cattleman’s Beef Backer Award in February of 2008 in Reno, Nevada.
From these commendable beginnings, Chef Michael has become an inspiring and accomplished chef, making numerous appearances on both network and local television. After working as the lead Food Stylist for the Book and the Cook Fair in 2005, Chef Michael’s talents were recognized by Food Network’s Cat Cora. Since then, he has received cooking spots on “Iron Chef America,” appearing as one of Cat Cora’s competition Sous-chefs. Most recently, Chef Michael has appeared on Food Network’s Culinary Competitions, “Chopped” and “Ultimate Recipe Showdown.” He also competed on The Tyra Banks Show and won the title of “Top Pop Chef” which awarded him the opportunity to work with Patti LaBelle as her personal chef. Chef Michael also appeared in the documentary film “Pressure Cooker” which followed the trials and tribulations of a handful of culinary students as they work build their culinary careers in the Tri-state area.
FSCS: What's the one ingredient you can't live without?
Chef Michael: “I love love love olive oil, not only to cook with, but also for the health benefits.”
FSCS: Did you always want to be a chef, growing up?
Chef Michael: “Yes! I started at a young age of 9 in my family’s restaurants and all
the way into culinary school. Love it! And can't stop, it's my passion.”
FSCS: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a chef friend or mentor?
Chef Michael: “Runnnnnnnnn!!! Lol j/k. Don't forget family time. Your family and your partner should never be second to anything.”
FSCS: What do you consider to be your single greatest accomplishment in your career thus far?
Chef Michael: “I have a few…cooking on the food network, The James Beard Foundations winner of The Best Private Chef of Miami and The Best Chef of NYC by Wine and Country magazine.”
Makes 32 to 48 servings (Scaled)
Difficulty Level - Easy
Photo Credit - Todd McEvy
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