Chef Michael Goodman was born in Brooklyn and graduated from the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park. He went on to train at the Helmsley Palace in New York before beginning a journey with the Four Seasons that would last more than two decades. He's currently Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Las Vegas, where he's created an excellent set of menus that speak to the restaurant’s wide variety of clientele, drawing on his years of experience traveling as far as Hawaii and Mexico City while opening restaurants for the Four Seasons.
Chef Michael's career reads like an executive success story. After the Helmsley Palace in New York, he moved to Los Angeles. Though he "didn't want to work at a chain" initially, Chef Michael was approached by Lydia Shire from Boston, who encouraged him to come on board when the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills opened. After three years as banquet chef there, he decided to go to the Maui Four Seasons, where he was promoted to Executive Chef. Three and a half years later, Chef Michael would accept an assignment that would land him on Good Morning America, in the world's biggest city. He spent two and a half years opening the Mexico City Four Seasons, where he learned Spanish, and shopped in the world's largest farmer's market.
Chef Michael loved Mexico City, but still had more fish to fry, like ahi tuna, alpaca, and swordfish, which he did while opening the Four Seasons in Hualalai, Hawaii. Though he loved paradise, duty called him yet again to open his fourth restaurant in less than a decade, this time the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Arizona. He stayed on in Scottsdale for two and a half years; the Four Seasons San Francisco then followed, as did a brief stint opening the Jackson Hole, Wyoming Four Seasons.
If you're wondering what goes on when opening a restaurant (let alone half a dozen) just imagine this—being responsible for hiring staff, creating menus, going to places you've never been, sometimes learning a new language, and getting very little sleep. But according to Chef Michael, "You get experiences you can't buy. It's very rewarding."
And you have to be committed if you're going to pull off a 20-hour, seven-day workweek for as long as it takes until your kitchen is established. But Chef Michael seems to take it in stride.
Chef Michael is currently Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Las Vegas, and lucky for us, he plans on staying. "I know it sounds strange, but I always thought I'd end up in Las Vegas," he says. "I'm very blessed. I have a great staff, great employees, and business in good."
Chef Michael says that everywhere he's been, he's learned flavors and techniques to add to his culinary repertoire. He has a vast knowledge of Pacific Rim foods, but his menu today is mainly American-Italian. "That said, there's something for everyone," He explains. And Chef Michael has seen enough to know.