Michael Smith was born in 1960 and began working in the food business in 1973. He attended Colorado State University in Pueblo, living off campus and working in the kitchen of La Renaissance, until graduation. In 1983, he went to work for Great Chef George Mavrothalassitis at Chateau Pyrenees in Denver, Colorado for three years, then to France for a year, and in 1987 returned to Chicago to open Charlie Trotter’s as sous chef, then back to Europe between 1989-1991 to received additional training in the kitchens of France. He returned in 1991 as sous chef at Carlos’ in Highland Park, Illinois, then appointed as executive chef for Gordon’s in Chicago.
In 1994, he and his wife, Debbie Gold, were selected as executive chefs of Hallmark Card’s The American Restaurant in Kansas City. In January of 2000, the Great Chefs television team showed up to tape him for the Great Chefs of America television series for the Discovery Channel.
They both left American Restaurant the following year to open their own restaurant, 40 Sardines, but closed in 2006 following their divorce settlement. In 2007, Chef Michael went on to open two more Kansas City restaurants, Extra Virgin and Michael Smith, where he remains today, in 2016.