Custom Culinary - Be true to the food
Mike Lonteen

YEARS IN FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY: 

35+

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

Becoming a chef has always been "in my blood." My father, Frank, would bring my brother and me to restaurants where he was a chef. At the age of 13 (although underage), I worked summers at a country club washing dishes. The Executive Chef took me under his wing and launched my cooking career.

I held a series of jobs at the country club, working my way up to the Executive Chef position by the age of 20. Working for French, European and Mediterranean chefs, I learned creativity plus many culinary skills and classic techniques.

Eventually, the long hours required at the country club along with having a young family prompted me to enroll at the University of Akron. There, a food science class enthralled me, and my dual role of culinarian and food scientist began. Today, I credit those around me at the R+D centers plus chefs I now work with from India, China, Australia, the UK, Malaysia, Dubai, and other countries with deepening my understanding of scratch-made tastes as they define it in their own countries, knowledge which I then use to help create authentic products.

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? 

My dad told me, “Always understand that you don’t know it all. And if you get around someone that knows more than you do, learn everything you can from them!"

MEMBERSHIPS: 

World Association of Chefs Societies, American Culinary Federation, Research Chefs Association

RECOGNITION: 

Achieved Certified Executive Chef, 1990, Research Chefs Association Pioneer Award, 2010