Custom Culinary - Be true to the food
Michael Smith

YEARS IN FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY: 

30+

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO BECOME A CHEF? 

My father was a restaurateur. At age 8 or 9 while home sick, I watched Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, prepare a meal. He finished the meal, sat at a side table and pulled out a woman from the audience to taste it. His food always looked decadent, and that was the defining moment of my wanting to pursue a culinary career. At the 2010 ACF national convention in Anaheim, California, I finally got to meet and talk to my idol, telling him how his show inspired my career. And, then we posed for a picture.

Then from age 13, I had worked both front-of-house and back-of-house in my father’s restaurant.

My approach to helping national chain restaurants is to give them tools. My philosophy is that the shrinking globe and Food Network effect has forced the hand of chefs to step up to the plate and be more adventurous.

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

My first culinary teacher always used to say, “As long as you’re green, you’ll grow.” I’ve taken that to heart: You can learn something new every day, from every person.

MEMBERSHIPS:

World Association of Chefs Societies, American Culinary Federation, American Academy of Chefs, Research Chefs Association, Chaine des rotisseurs

RECOGNITION:

Achieved Certified Executive Chef, two-time winner, VICA National Culinary Arts Competition, ACF Northern NJ Chapter Chef of the Year, 2010 ACF National Cutting Edge Award