Michael Charpentier attended Clark College School of Culinary Arts in Vancouver, WA, in his hometown. He graduated with degrees in Professional Cooking and Restaurant Management in 2007.
Michael remembers watching Jacques Pepin and Julia Child on PBS as a kid growing up, and marveling at how easy they made everything look. His mentor, Matthew Yore, instilled a love of simplicity and ice cream. Another mentor is Sioux Falls’ own, Jordan Taylor, who is a dear friend and colleague for over a decade.
Michael Charpentier developed his technical skills at Roots Restaurant, in Camas, WA. This was the first time he worked with Jordan Taylor, and is easily the most talented crew of cooks he has ever been a part of. Farmers and foragers would show up at the back door with fresh picked pears or chanterelles. In that experience of working there for over two years, Michael had never learned more about food, cooking, or what he was capable of.
Michael is currently furloughed from his full time position as Chef de Cuisine of Grays Restaurant, inside the Hilton Hotel Vancouver, WA. He also currently is the Chef of Pizza Cheeks here in Sioux Falls.
Q & A
Q: Do you have a special philosophy or approach when it comes to cooking?
A: Buy the best ingredients that can be afforded, when they are in season, and treat them with respect. Salt is essential! Fat equals Flavor!
Q: Which job gave you the most meaningful experience?
A: The most meaningful experience and the restaurant I am most proud of working at was Smokehouse Provisions in Vancouver, WA. In 2017, we were chosen as Best Barbecue Restaurant in Washington by Southern Living Magazine. In 2018, in addition to being Executive Chef, I took over the role of General Manager and ran the entire restaurant. It was super hard work but tremendously rewarding.
Q: What dish inspires you most?
A: Asian noodle soups. Or at least those are what I always want to eat. Ramen, pho, guay tiew, khao soi…
Q: What are your favorite tools in the kitchen?
A: Knives! I have a lot of them. And they are all reeeeeeally sharp!
Q: Where is your favorite restaurant? (lt does not have to be local, it can be international)
A: There’s so many… I would say the one I have the most sentimental memories of is Pok Pok in Portland, OR. The first time I ate there, while I was in culinary school, was genuinely life changing.