Chef Michele Sampson

A fleeting childhood glimpse at back-of-the-house life sparked a lifelong hunger for restaurant life for Chef Michele Sampson. She was ten years old when she went to visit her aunt's diner near Niagara Falls. When she opened the doors to the kitchen, Michele was awestruck. “It was like I was in a wonderland of fun,” she remembers. “It was loud, full of activity, and hot! It was incredible-- so many different smells of things cooking.”

That feast for her senses sealed the deal for Chef Michele. She has made her career in fine dining restaurants-- a far cry from the diner breakfast fare that started her on this journey. In fact, her go-to dishes today are about as far from short-order as it gets-- dishes that take all day. “I really like to braise dishes,” she explains. “Balancing flavors and cooking for hours to develop deep, richly flavored food.”

More About This Chef

Favorite Food

Anything Asian

Favorite Minor’s® product

Minor’s® Chipotle Flavor Concentrate

Geographic Region

Corporate Chef


Culinary Institute of America- AOS degree


Fine Dining for 27 years

Major Achievements/Awards

Worked with (or have done benefits with) Julia Child, Jacque Pepin, Hubert Keller, Ming Tsai, Ken Hom, Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower.

Voted “Manager of the Year” 3 times while at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Work History

  • Webvan, CA—Culinary Director
  • Chevys Mexican Restaurants, San Francisco, CA—Production Development Manager
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel, San Francisco, CA—Executive Chef
  • Santa Fe Bar & Grill, Berkeley, CA—Sous Chef
  • Chez Thoa, Denver, CO—Executive Chef
  • Several smaller restaurants in NY