At age 14, Steven Schaefer was looking for a part time job after school and landed a dishwasher position in a small Michigan restaurant. He was fascinated by what was going on in the kitchen, and as Chef Schaefer says, “usually I was in the right place at the right time and as soon as I took a lower level kitchen job, someone above me would leave and I’d get promoted immediately.” At age 19 he was the head chef of the Richmond Mill Inn in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
He eventually got a job at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, then other hotels around the country, from the Westchester Country Club in New York; the Executive Hotel in San Diego; the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas under Great Chef Jean-Luc Albin; the Four Seasons in Washington, DC; the Doubletree in Marina del Ray; then executive sous chef at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in 1990; and finally, as the executive chef at the opening of the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida in 1991.
When the Great Chefs showed up to tape him there in 1996 for Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the South television series, he was both the Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager. He went on to open other Ritz-Carlton properties as General Manager and Food and Beverage Manager in Naples and in Jupiter, Florida. In 2010 he was the Vice President of Operations for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida, and also became a Founding Member of the John Maxwell Company where he remains today.