Chef Mike studied the art and science of food & nutrition at Purdue University and later graduated from Kendall College with a concentration in culinary arts. After working in the corporate test kitchens of Kraft Foods, Mike formally began his teaching career at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston. Since then, he has worked independently as a consultant for many large food companies, offering recipe and product development services, food styling, prototyping and writing. As an educator, he teaches culinary classes to novices, food enthusiasts and has been on the faculty of Kendall College and Triton College as well. Mike enjoys traveling throughout the world to experience culture and cuisine.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the ChefsBest panel?
It continues to amaze me how well we all work together and build off of each other. When we taste something initially, we write our own notes silently and then share them with the group. It’s always impressive when someone mentions that they tasted, for example, oregano in a chicken broth and then six or seven other chefs agree that they detected it, too. Such subtleties are not often detected by the average consumer, but those flavors add to the quality of a product, influencing whether the consumer will want to purchase the product again.
What are three of your grocery store staples?
Three of my grocery store staples are lemons, garlic, and butter.
What is the most original dish/recipe you have ever created?
I made a “dessert sushi roll” for a sushi class I was teaching. It is basically a jelly-roll cake baked with black sesame seed and filled with sweet frosting and fruits, then rolled up, cut, and decorated to resemble a sushi maki roll with pomegranate seeds on top which look like roe.
What is your favorite ingredient in the kitchen and why?
My favorite ingredient is garlic. I love its transformative powers. If it’s cooked slowly in oil, as in for tomato sauce, it develops a rich savory depth of flavor. Used raw, I love its spicy pungency in salads and dips. Garlic becomes so much more when fried, roasted, sautéed, fermented, or pickled!
Photo credit: Parties that Cook.