Chef Michael Ponzio fell in love with the traditional culinary experience of Italian dining at a very young age. Michael, who comes from a large Italian family, grew up in a suburb just outside of Chicago. So naturally, his first inspiration in the kitchen was his grandmother. She introduced Michael to classic home style cooking and later provided guidance and instruction in perfecting the basics. Cooking quickly became his passion.
Michael went on to receive his education in Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago. In 2002, he joined the award-winning team at Spiaggia as a sous-chef working closely with Tony Mantuano. His skill and technique grew immensely during that time.
From there, Michael continued his journey in learning how to master the Chicago culinary scene at restaurants including Volare, Cenitare and Rosebud Restaurant Group; where he worked as the Director of Culinary Operations.
He has traveled all over the country and to several parts of Italy and France studying everything from handcrafted pastas and pizza to gelato and regional delicacies.
In 2011 Michael authored a cookbook, CIBO: Anybody’s Guide to Italian Cooking. He went on to become the Executive Chef of Medinah Country Club in Illinois, a world-ranked Platinum golf club. In 2019, Michael became the Executive Chef of the Union League Club of Chicago.
Michael is also the host of the television show Fairway to Table on NBC’s Golf Pass, showcasing culinary programs at the best country clubs across the U.S., while introducing the artists behind the apron who are creating local flavors and fantastic feasts for their members.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Michael spends his time with his wife and four children traveling and nurturing his passion for food and wine.
- The Next Generation of Chefs: Conversation, Cooking, and Call to Action
- Tuesday, May 24 • 12:30 PM - 1:15 PM