Chef Michael Watz
Chef Michael Watz, 2017 Chef Recipe Contest WinnerChef Michael Watz has worked in many different roles in the foodservice industry—serving as a chef, a culinary educator, and as a corporate food and beverage director for a multi-chain unit.

Early in his career, Watz experienced the food markets of Europe, which influenced his culinary path. “Seeing the farm fresh produce, ocean and lake fresh fish and shell fish…the aromas, sights and sounds influenced me to begin the creative process of developing recipes and menu concepts,” he shares.

“My education at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) propelled me to reinforce the skill sets and techniques I learned in college. After graduation, I was fortunate to work with several chefs and foodservice professionals who taught me to think like a manager and cook like a pro,” Watz says.

“I have worked with many great people who had the patience to develop my skills both in and out of the kitchen,” he says. “My most memorable position has been in culinary education, where I had the opportunity to work hands-on with students from all walks of life. As a chef instructor, I, in turn, could help influence these students as culinarians and members of the community.”

In addition to developing the culinary talent of his students, Watz has explored other outlets for his creative passion, including Maple Leaf Farms’ recipe contest.

The 2017 contest was Watz’ second time as a finalist. In 2012, his recipe for Manchego Duck Pintxos with Tapas Red Curry Cream took second place. This year, he submitted a detailed dish full of homestyle flavors: Heartland Duck Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts Pain Perdu.

Watz says about duck, “Over the years I have appreciated working with Maple Leaf Farm products at many operations from fine dining to casual theme restaurants.” For him, duck is an excellent medium for creativity and experimentation.

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