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Joined Date: Nov 05, 2006
Birthday: Jan 17
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Michael is a 46 year old culinary arts student, and a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.
Michael has been cooking since he could reach the top of the stove while standing on a step stool. Michael recalls watching famous chefs like Graham Kerr ("The Galloping Gourmet"), Jeff Smith ("The Frugal Gourmet"), and probably the most beloved and famous chef of all — the most fabulous Julia Child — laying on the living room floor and using the family's Samoyed (correctly pronounced "sam-OY-ed") as a floor pillow. He recalls getting upset when Julia Child's show would end and Sesame Street would begin — he was more interested in Julia Child than Oscar the Grouch (but he did like it when they showed the dozen eggs, with each egg being removed followed by munching sounds).
Being a culinary arts student, Michael is often asked the same two questions: "What are you specializing in?" and "What is your favorite thing to make?" Michael's answers are easy: " I don't want to specialize in any one area, be it cuisine, ingredients, region, or meal course. The way I see it, a true chef has not only mastered all aspects of meal planning, but is never afraid to step it up, break it out, and experiment a bit. Food should be fun, exciting, comforting, and not the least bit scary (unless you’re making Halloween food, then it’s ON!). I figure 100 people can make the same dish using the same recipe, ingredients and techniques, and you will still end up with 100 different dishes. Cooking involves not only preparing food for others to eat, but putting a little bit of your soul and personality into each and every dish prepared. Soul and personality are the two ingredients that make mom's cooking taste like mom's cooking, and grandma's cooking taste like grandma's cooking. The recipes may be handed down from generation to generation, but each person that makes it, makes it just a little bit different. When I am asked, "What is your favorite thing to make?", my answer is simple, "Whatever I'm in the mood for."
My favorite meal would have to be pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy (made from the pork chop pan drippings, of course!), and steamed broccoli with lots of butter.
I make a mean smoked Gouda cheese soup.
My favorite restaurants are (in no particular order): St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana; The Canterbury Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana; The Palm Steakhouse, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada; Hapi Sushi, Laguna Beach, California (the 49 Special is a must!); Jack In The Box, all locations (thanks to Donald Trujillo, I am now addicted to their tacos!); Rally’s Burgers, all locations (their fries are to die for!).