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April 29, 2022 3 min read

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We’re excited to welcome Chef Mike, a private chef based in Chicago, Illinois, as the Opinel Culinary Ambassador. Along with seasonally focused recipes, Chef Mike will spend the next few months offering up tips and tricks for cooking at home and outside with Opinel. 
 
 

Tell us a bit about your career path: 

From a young age, I took an interest in cooking. Whether it was gardening in the yard and harvesting fresh ingredients, or watching my mom and grandma in the kitchen, I was always fascinated with the art of cooking. I loved the idea of bringing many different elements and ingredients together and making them into one cohesive meal. 

After graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting, I pursued formal culinary training at Kendall College in Chicago. At Kendall, I was able to hone in on my already existing skills and take my cooking to the next level. I was fortunate to be taught by many talented instructors, all of whom had different culinary backgrounds, which allowed me to learn about many different techniques and types of cooking. 

I currently work full time as a private chef. My responsibilities are wide ranging, from creating weekly menus to helping plan and execute dinner parties. Working as a private chef allows me to be independently creative as well as collaborative. I enjoy creating specialized menus and bringing new ideas to the table, as well as working with my clients to understand their needs and wants. The aspect I most enjoy about being a private chef is bringing families together around the table to spend time together and enjoy healthy and fresh meals.

How long have you used Opinel? 

I got my first Opinel pocket knife when I was 16 or 17. Since then, I’ve come to love the products. It all started with that one pocket knife!

Do you have a favorite kitchen tool? 

It’s hard for me to pick just one! I would say my two favorite tools are my cast iron pan and my chef’s knife. 

What is your favorite dish to prepare? 

I don’t have a favorite dish to prepare, but my favorite ingredients are fresh and seasonal. I enjoy using a lot of herbs, seasonal produce, and items from my garden. 

Do you have a favorite ingredient? 

This is also a hard one! I would say a lemon – it’s versatile and can pair with many ingredients, both savory and sweet. Lemons are a great way to add natural acidity. 
 

Is there one food you can’t live without? 

It’s not necessarily a food, but I love any and all hot sauces! 

What inspires your cooking? 

I get a lot of inspiration from my childhood and growing up with a garden. I spent a lot of time cooking in the kitchen with my mom and grandma. I have a lot of family traditions that I still uphold today and I use those as inspiration for new ideas. I also am inspired by the different seasons (we get all four in Chicago!)

 

If you had one piece of advice for home chefs, what would it be?

Start with the basics and master those! Once you have the foundations down, you’ll be able to experiment and get creative with making dishes your own way. It won’t happen overnight, but practice makes perfect. 

Chef Mike’s Favorite Opinel Tools 

No.08 Stainless Steel Folding Knife

No.08 Stainless Steel Folding Knife

Forged 1890 8" Chef Knife

Forged 1890 8


1 Response

Jona
Jona

May 10, 2022

Chef Mike and got to know each other during the pandemic through virtual hangouts on various media apps and have since gotten super close. I consider him a mentor, friend and someone who truly has spent time in the kitchen mastering his craft. I’m excited to see his food media journey continue to grow and reach curious home cooks and families alike! He is also a encyclopedia for food knowledge and I basically call him up everyday asking technical questions in the kitchen!

-Jona W

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