Michael McSweeney was born to a U.S. Navy family in Ankara, Turkey and has been in love with cooking since age 12 when, as his first job, he assisted the proprietor of the SuperSteer Deli in Portland, Oregon, where he prepared Mexican dishes and assorted deli specials.
He began his formal training under Chef Earnest Herzog as sous chef at the Couch Street Fish House in Portland for six years. As the family moved around, so did chef Michael, first at various clubs in Isle of Palms, South Carolina; then Palm Beach, Florida; the Fountainbleau on Miami Beach, and finally under Great Chef Mark Militello at Mark’s Place in Miami. He also worked as sous chef at the Hyatt Regency in Kauai, and the Kauai Hilton in Lihue, then as executive chef at the Poipu Bay Resort in Poipu, until a hurricane wiped out that part of the island.
Looking to move off island and back on the mainland, Chef Michael was offered a position of Chef de Cuisine at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida in 1993. In 1996, the Great Chefs team showed up to tape him for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the South and Great Chefs of America television series.