We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Maitrel-Burgard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, what do you attribute your success to?
Stay authentic. When I moved to America I learned a lot about the habits and culinary trends. I tried really hard at the beginning to cook the same things we see everywhere in restaurants, the classics. It was a good experience and I learned a lot. However something was missing. Identity! I think it is the core of my business today, offering a chef that will be able to provide everything you want in term of cuisine, but the most important is that I stay myself. I am still this big tall French dude cooking in your kitchen. And that is what people like and want. They want to save their comfort but at the same time experiencing new flavors. Through my experience and trips, I am able to provide this. And at the same time I keep this flexibility if one day they call me and ask me to cook for them some mac and cheese 😀
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Cooking is an art. It is one of the main pillars of culture. I do not consider cooking like a regular job. Sometimes I feel like an athlete going into the arena, focusing on what you can do the best. Being a cook can be the worst job ever if you do not have the passion. I was born in a family where cooking was the pinnacle of family reunion and gatherings. My sister owns a resort in Switzerland and I was going there every other week to spend the weekend. I grew up in the suburbs of Strasbourg, Alsace, France. I started to hang out in the kitchen with the Chef and that is when I understood all the good things you can bring with food. Happy people with great food. One of the challenge was that my parents did not want me to go at the culinary school, they wanted me to go to the regular college and get an International Trade degree, which I did. But my career was empty and boring, this is when I went back to the restaurant world. I am proud of all the places I cooked at and I have been able to travel a lot, meet good people that became family and just share love.
I am especially proud that I am cooking for professional athletes, people that I adored watching on TV and admire them playing. Today I am cooking for them and their family. They trust me and share this little part of their life with me. This has no price.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would definitely go to play soccer together Sunday morning (big tradition in the family ahah). The Suns game would be also on the program. Downtown Phoenix for the bars and probably Scottsdale for the restaurants. A lot of road trips to the mountains, the desert, the lake. And of course up North to see the Grand Canyon.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First of all my first Chef : Claude Meyer. The first thing he told me is : “you are not a chef yet, you need to become a cook first, someone that make, create, put together, fix food.” (in French he literally said a food maker). He taught me the techniques, old school rough chef. I learned a lot with him and still use the knowledge he share with me everyday! I want also to thank my New York family that did teach me a lot about restaurants in America. Karl Williams who was my first boss and his team Monica Freeman-Greene and Jennifer Piccerillo. We had, I want to say, a true experience of the restaurant life. They trusted me and helped me build my career here.
And on the top of that, my life partner, Mikayla Scaife that is always by my side and helps manage the company we created. She got the global vision on the business and it helps me focus on the cooking, the menus etc…
Other: Website will be online at the end of this week