Note: I’m ALWAYS willing to support a great cause. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please find my contact information HERE.
Hello! My name is Michael Chen, and as I’m sure you know by now, I was a contestant on Season 3 of FOX’s MasterChef. I’ve also recently come out to my friends and family, amid mixed reactions as I was raised in a conservative Chinese Christian environment.
I was born in Shanghai, China, and moved to Austin, TX when I was 3. Being almost 20 now, Austin is where I’ve lived for the better part of 16 years, save for a brief stint in College Station for one semester of college at Texas A&M until MasterChef changed my life forever.
I had to give up everything I was taught to value in order to pursue my dream. The security of a college education. A promising career in the high paying meteorology field (one of my professors had predicted that I would be a “hot commodity” in the field). My new friends that I had just gotten to know. My parents’ financial support. My self-esteem, as being a good student was really the only thing I was ever good at. Has it been worth it? So far, it has, but in the long term only time will tell.
I believe in food as artistry, not just nourishment. Being so young, I know that I have a lot to learn. My dream one day is to open a restaurant utilizing a farm-to-table philosophy, where care has been taken every step of the way to ensure the highest quality food. I believe in eating food not only with the mouth, but the eyes as well. I believe that a balance of flavors, textures, and colors is necessary to compose a complete dish.
When I came back from MasterChef, I worked a few shifts doing some prep work at the Jalopy, one of the top food trucks in Austin. Since then, I’ve had the honor of staging at the now-famous Barley Swine, under Bryce Gilmore. Recently, I’ve also been helping out in the kitchen at the legendary Uchiko for a few weeks. In October of 2012, I worked as the Chef de Cuisine of a small, authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Canada (the owner wants me to keep its identity private). In March, 2013, I started working as the Executive Chef and Kitchen/Catering manager for the Kessler Theater in Dallas, TX. Hopefully this list will grow with many more wonderful experiences in the upcoming few months and years.
In spite of my passions and ambitions, my greatest hope in life is to touch and connect with people in meaningful ways. To me, heaven is a place where love always wins. That day cannot come soon enough.