Introducing Chef Michael Fiorelli
Chef de Cuisine
It was a desire to be a writer that ultimately led Chef Michael Fiorelli to the kitchen. An avid reader, his pursuit of all things literary led him to cookbooks, which captured his imagination and fostered a newfound passion. Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Fiorelli's endeavors in a professional kitchen began as Chef de Partie at Restaurant Susanna Foo in Philadelphia, PA. Working under the tutelage of the James Beard Award-winning chef, Fiorelli learned the ropes at one of the nation's top restaurants and began laying the groundwork for his culinary career.
A year later, Fiorelli was offered the position of Lead Chef under European Master Chef Peter Timmons at the five star Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. For three years, Michael operated The Tavern Room and trained with Timmons, whom he says, "taught me the value of truly respecting your ingredients." During the off season, Fiorelli also moonlighted as a chef at the famed Little Nell in Aspen, CO.
It was when Fiorelli was offered a position as Chef de Partie at The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA -- arguably one of the best restaurants in the nation -- that his career began to take off. Under the instruction of Chef Patrick O'Connell, winner of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, Fiorelli focused on working with neighboring farmers to procure seasonal and local ingredients to execute "terroir" cuisine.
After leaving The Inn at Little Washington, Fiorelli headed to South Florida where he became the Executive Chef for yet another James Beard Award winner, Mark Militello, at Militello's highly touted Mark's at the Park. While under Fiorelli's leadership, the restaurant received a three and a half star review by the Palm Beach post and CitySmart Magazine named Fiorelli the "South Florida Rising Star Chef."
With Militello's blessings, Fiorelli jumped at the chance to play an instrumental role on the concept development team for Darden Restaurants, where he implemented a new concept to the South Florida market with Seasons 52. As the Executive Chef, he offered a seasonally changing menu and the area's most extensive wine list while managing to keep every item on the menu under 475 calories.
It was celebrity chef Kerry Simon who ultimately lured Fiorelli to California, where he was appointed Chef de Cuisine at Simon's wildly successful restaurant Simon LA, where he drew on both his classic training and affinity for farm-to-table fare to please the palates of A-list celebrities and local Angelenos alike. As Chef de Cuisine, Fiorelli created weekly menus using only the highest quality farmer's market produce and implemented the "100 mile menu", procuring all ingredients from farmers and purveyors within 100 miles of the restaurant. Says Fiorelli, "If I can just bring these great flavors to the table without altering the integrity of the ingredients, then I've accomplished what I set out to do."
With years of training and a passion to showcase his own carefully developed signature style, Fiorelli accepted his current position as Chef de Cuisine at mar'sel, the signature restaurant at the Terranea Resort and Spa in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Fiorelli's modern interpretation of a classic, California-inspired menu that utilizes local, seasonal ingredients delivers mouthwatering results and his colorful dishes, refreshing presentations and strict attention to detail impress even the most sophisticated palate. According to Fiorelli, whose inspiration comes from farmers who dedicate their lives to respecting the earth and local communities, a great dish "starts with the freshest seasonal ingredients." When asked his favorite food, Fiorelli says salt. "My whole cooking philosophy stems from the idea that that great food needs two things: love and salt."