For Chef Mike, cooking for 700 is just another day at the office.
While a few people might think they know what they want to be “when they grow up,” many of us evolve into our careers. Executive Chef Michael Scott, for example, grew up in Ohio and began his working life as an auto detailer and landscaper. With some encouragement from an older sister in Wisconsin, he moved here to attend technical college – for agricultural business. Needing a part time job, Mike started washing dishes at a Big Steer restaurant and was soon promoted to the kitchen. It was there in Osseo, Wisconsin where he also met his wife Ann. Before he was finished with school, he married and followed her to a job in South Dakota where he worked up to Food Production Manager at a Village Inn Pancake House, known for making their batters and sauces from scratch. When Ann’s company transferred her to a position in Minot, North Dakota they moved into a Holiday Inn while looking for a place to live. Mike went downstairs and got a job in the kitchen.
Hotel restaurant work is good experience for a chef spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and banquets and as the Assistant Kitchen Manager he had management training for the whole property. When Ann’s company asked them to move to Utah, they agreed. They were initially put up in a Holiday Inn, so Mike went downstairs and got himself another job. By now he had a fair amount of experience so he shopped around and transferred to an Embassy Suites where he became the Sous Chef (second in command) and eventually followed his manager to the Alta Club, an elite private social club on Temple Square in Salt Lake City that was founded in 1883.
The Alta Club was where Mike earned his “stripes” for the next six years as well as his certification and experience with fine dining and different cuisines. As they began to miss being around family, Ann requested a transfer to the Midwest and was given a position in Milwaukee. Mike, now armed with years of experience and an excellent letter of recommendation, began to search the finer hotels and country clubs for a suitable position. He found his place at Westmoor Country Club in Brookfield, one of the finest in the area, where he was able to shine.
Westmoor’s club manager Don Kennedy happened to have a long and cherished friendship with Dick Klopcic and had worked with The Fireside in an advisory role for many years. When The Fireside needed a middle manager to help David Wolfram, Mr. Kennedy recommended Mike and he thought it sounded like an interesting idea. The Scotts took a drive to Fort Atkinson for a Fireside Sunday Brunch, looked around town and liked what they saw. Now, as Sous Chef since 1995 and Executive Chef since 2009 Mike manages a staff of 20 in the kitchen, bakery and pantry with another dozen in the dish room. Here he’s able to pursue the passion he’s developed for creating something special for you each time you visit; trying new ideas, new recipes, and the challenge of serving 700 guests at a time. He has earned certifications at the Culinary Institute of America.
Mike embraces The Fireside’s customer service mission; accommodating dietary substitutions, striving to exceed your expectations, and offering our guests more choices. His family embraced The Fireside as well, with all five of them working here until his daughter Allison moved to North Carolina in 2012. You’ll find son Joey in the kitchen alongside Dad while Ann and daughter Jessica take care of you in the dining room. On Mike’s days off you’ll find him playing with his grandchildren. While it may not have been a straight path, it’s been a good one for Mike and definitely a good one for The Fireside and for our guests!