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Chef profile picture of Michelle Tatsumi



Q: What is your culinary training background and how did that lead you to the Lake Geneva area?

After graduating from The Illinois Institute of Arts in Chicago, where I learned classical French cuisine from prominent chefs in the city, my family relocated closer to Lake Geneva. My culinary journey in this area began as Chef de Partie at the Chop House at Grand Geneva.


Q: Who has been your biggest culinary inspiration and why?

My biggest culinary inspiration is my upbringing in the Philippines. My grandparents owned a quaint café, and my grandmother's daily trips to the wet market at dawn meant an array of ten breakfast choices for me each morning. Their dedication to serving good food to good people instilled in me a desire to honor their memory through my work as a chef.


Q: What is your restaurant best known for?

I've curated the menu with some of my personal favorite dishes. I envision it becoming a local hotspot for craft burgers and beverages, as well as a cherished spot for families to create lasting memories over a meal together.


Q: What is your favorite dish to cook and why?

Cansi holds a special place in my heart as my favorite dish to cook. This beef bone marrow soup, infused with tamarind and chili and complemented by green jackfruit, Achoite, and Bok choy, transports me back to the flavors of home. It evokes memories of sea breezes, sunshine, and the aroma of charcoal. My grandfather taught me the art of balancing salty, sour, and spicy flavors, making it a deeply nostalgic and comforting dish for me.


Q: What is your process when developing a new dish?

I draw inspiration from both quality ingredients and a blend of novel and traditional cooking techniques. I start by selecting a star flavor to highlight, then carefully choose complementary flavors to enhance it. Texture and presentation play a crucial role in the final creation.


Q: Do you have any tips or tricks for those looking to elevate their dishes at home?

I suggest they begin with sourcing the best-quality ingredients available. I gained invaluable insight into flavor depth while working at farmers' markets and tending to my own garden, investing in wholesome ingredients is key. Mastering the art of making a good stock, which forms the backbone of French cuisine, can greatly enhance soups and sauces with minimal effort.