Michael Foley was born and raised in Chicago and is a third generation restaurateur. His grandfather opened Ray Foley’s in 1935, so Michael has been in the kitchen since he could walk. Although he knew and loved the restaurant business, he investigated other careers, including medicine. He attended the Beijing Medical Institute, received a Bachelor of Arts, government, law and business from Georgetown University in 1974, attended Cornell University from 1974- 77 in business and food & beverage development, and also graduated from the Beringer School for American Chefs. He apprenticed with a French chef at L’ Auberge du Couchon Rouge in Ithaca, New York while attending Cornell. After graduation, he traveled to France and visited with Great Chefs Paul Bocuse and Alain Chapel, before returning to Chicago to look for a place to open his own restaurant.
In 1981, he opened Printers Row in a blighted area of Chicago, changing his menu 80% every week. It was an instant hit winning every award possible. Great Chefs Television showed up to tape Chef Foley in 1984 for a PBS series called Great Chefs of Chicago. Everyone on both coasts laughed and said there were no “great chefs” in Chicago. We proved them wrong, and Chef Michael was a big part of that. He ran Printers Row for 25 years before closing the doors in 2006, and looking for new opportunities.
In 2007 he worked as Director of Food R & D for the Hyde Park Group for the next 5+ years before becoming the Vice President of Innovation and Brand Strategy at Cosi Restaurant Group, followed by a short stint with Tim Horton’s USA as a culinary consultant.
In 2005 he founded and still operates Vegetable Alchemy, and in late 2007 he founded michaelfoleyfood.com and still in 2016, consults with various food clients around the world. The Bungalow Café is one of his fun preservation passions.