Chef Mike McGirr
Why is sustainability important to you & your restaurant?
I was raised on an organic farm, and my parents were both from subsistence farming families in Ohio, not far from the
West Virgina border. My work as chef is based on my passion for sustainable, organic agriculture. I spend more of my
professional life lecturing and teaching on authentic cuisine and pristine sources of all of my ingredients.
If you were a farmer what would you raise or grow?
Effectively, I am a farmer even though I don’t own a farm. I work intimately with over 30 farms, ranches, dairies and foragers to plan the production of proteins, produce and products for the tables of my clients and the kitchens of my
chef-colleagues. I personally work in most of these endeavors, sewing, weeding and harvesting, slaughtering and butchering, and foraging for the foods I prepare. So, pretty much everything!
What one seasoning can you not live without? Vinegar.
What should every kitchen not be without? A cast iron skillet with a fitted lid.
What chef, person and or book inspired you to enter the culinary world? Julia Child, as a child. Alice Waters as a young adult.
What are some can’t miss items on the menu? A Surprise TBD!
What celebrity or historical figure would you most want to serve a meal to? Thomas Jefferson.
Where and with whom would be your ideal location for your last supper? What would you eat, drink and listen to? My partner and I on the last night of life on earth as a massive meteorite hurtled towards us all. We’d be in a little cabin by a bold stream, deep in the woods, high in the mountains. We’d have beer, wine, bourbon and absinthe. We’d eat something I’d killed earlier in the day, preferably a trout, a partridge, a wild hog and a possum. Each would be prepared on a wood stove or in a wood oven. All would be lightly touched with salt and kissed with a rare spice. I’d insist on some mountain music, and would gladly accept the awful electronica to giggle and laugh about. Then some Marianne Faithful, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith and Morrissey. If foie gras were around, we’d have it for dessert with an amazing Sauternes.
Chef Mike McGirr was raised on a four-acre organic farm in rural Massachusetts in the 1970’s and 80’s. His parents, each coming from subsistence farming families in Ohio, wanted to imbue the family life with healthy, fresh foods such as what they’d enjoyed in their youth. They raised chickens, ducks, rabbits, and grew a year-round garden with myriad forms of produce. They hunted and foraged regularly. They processed everything possible to stock a cellar and pantry with the finest and healthiest whole foods. They dined out almost every Friday, and de-constructed the meals on the drive home so they could recreate them on Saturday as a family in the kitchen. He’s reared animals, grown gardens and worked intimately with ranchers, butchers, cheese mongers, fish mongers and wine makers. His passion for the natural environment translates seamlessly into fluency in the kitchen. He believes excellent produce should be the cornerstone of cuisine, and he enjoys the search for the best resources to bring to his clients’ tables.
Currently coined “locavore” and “farm-to-table”, his style isn’t based on trends. Chef Mike has fed several high profile families weekly, and manage events at their homes regularly including actors, producers and directors such as Laura Turner Seydel Family, Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore, David & Megan Dobkin, Sara & John Shlesinger, Nancy & Michael Schulder.
Chef Mike’s true joy is to create a community out of food. Working intimately with producers to improve the variety, quality and reliability of their product for his clients’ tables. A commitment to excellence in preparation is his foundation. From stocks and mother sauces to condiments and snacks, he is not one to take the short-cut. It breaks his heart to see a perfect tomato go to waste, or a leftover chicken leg to miss the stock pot. He enjoys butchery, preserves and organization as much as preparing scrumptious fresh meals.
Chef Mike loves to travel where he thrives in the intimacy of a private kitchen and finding food sources on a trip is a passion!
Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or view his blog at http://michaelrayeats.wordpress.com/