Chef’s Corner with Michael Nirtaut

As the leader of the culinary team at the Fairmont Newport Beach, Chef Michael Nirtaut creates works-of-art out of the finest, freshest ingredients. His presentation is amazing—and the specialty sorbets—cucumber, tomatoe, and truffles—are incredible!

journeyPod enjoyed a delicious lunch tasting with Chef Michael where he wowed us with his pan seared duck breast, black truffle kobe beef meatloaf, and cheesless corn risotto. Then he sat down and chatted with us about his life as a Chef.

How did you get started cooking?

I grew up in Chicago and helped my Mom in the kitchen. I then moved to Denver to snowboard and needed to support that lifestyle, so I started cooking in the local restaurants at Breckenridge. Then I moved to Arizona to go to culinary school.

If you weren’t a Chef, what would you be?

I love playing tennis, snowboarding, and surfing. So I’d probably do all three of those at some level.

What are your favorite ingredients to cook with?

Truffles, heirloom tomatoes, and sea salts.

What’s the most unique ingredient you’ve cooked with?

Sea urchin roe—it’s really unique. It smells like cantaloupe.

Where do you hang out locally?

I love Plum’s Café for breakfast. I also go to Studio, Loft, and Charlie Palmers.

Any advice you’d share with a cooking enthusiast?

Take a cooking class.

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