Born in 1963 to a prominent Persian family, Michael Feker’s future in medicine was a fate prescribed by his parents, and a dream he would leave behind. Only eight years later Feker left Persia to study abroad at a renowned international school in Switzerland. Feker recalls some of his fondest childhood memories as holidays and school breaks when he coaxed his family’s culinary team to allow him to take control of the kitchen and prepare the family’s meals. Despite this early demonstration of culinary passion, he continued on his journey into the medical field.
After studying abroad and traveling the world, Feker joined his family in the Los Angeles and enrolled in pre-med courses at the University of Southern California (USC). Several semesters later he found himself truly unhappy, and could no longer deny that his passion was in the kitchen. With the support of his brother and Sister, The tables turned for Feker when he chose to leave USC and join the California Culinary Academy (CCA). Under the caring tutelage of Roberto Gerometta, Feker trained in classical French styles, learning the magic of combining flavors and the chemistry of food. "I SO MANY VALUABLE LESSONS from Roberto. I learned how to respect ingredients and how to let food speak for itself. With that engraved in my mind, for the past 24 years I have been SEARCHING for the whys. And that is why I believe knowledge of fundamentals equals creativity and culinary satisfaction.
Late in 1985, while finishing his studies at CCA, Feker was chosen by Gerometta to represent the Academy aboard the Royal Viking Line for a four-month stint around the world. During these months, he gathered the experience necessary to combine his artistic passion for flavors, with the practical ability to produce a high-quality product at very high volumes. Then in 1986, after returning from this educational adventure, Antonio Tommasi directed Feker’s talents to Harry's Bar and Grill in San Francisco. Feker credits this period as the time when he truly received his real experience in Italian cooking: "Tommasi taught me the art of pasta."
Continuing on his journey, Feker gathered the knowledge and life experiences that would soon take him to the next level. As he returned to southern California He joined Tommasi at Chianti Cucina, then was asked by Tommasi to join him as Chef de Cuisine and open the kitchen at Locanda Venata for two years. An Executive Chef position awaited Feker at Sostanza, during when he tested his culinary and business skills and received praise from the press for finally bringing substance to Sostanza. Soon his dreams became a reality when he opened the first IL MITO in Los Angeles, CA in 1990. When asked how it felt to finally have his own restaurant and be his own boss, with a wide, humble smile Feker replied “No difference. When you love what you do and you give from the heart, it feels as gratifying whether you sign the checks or not.”
Feker's talent was recognized again by Roberto Gerometta who asked him to stand in as Corporate Chef at Nestle, USA while Gerometta was consulting abroad for the international corporation. His responsibilities included teaching and educating Nestlé’s food service staff about the culinary world.
In 1997, Feker’s passion for beautiful real estate brought him to Southeast Wisconsin, But his love for a woman kept him here ( his now wife Maricela and the mother of his 3 angels). It was at that time that he took the opportunity to research the Milwaukee market, and discovered a great thirst for a true and honest culinary experience with superior service to match. It was at that time that he decided to move himself and his passion to Milwaukee where he "enjoys the serenity, peace and pace of life in Southeast Wisconsin." While he focused his passion in the heart of downtown Milwaukee as Owner and Executive Chef of IL MITO, his family grew, so did his desire to be closer to them; hence, IL MITO made the move to Wauwatosa, WI where Feker enjoys the freedom to execute his passion for cooking day in and day out. His continued and steady success can be attributed to his eye for detail and boundless energy.
Feker is quite candid when commenting that, while in his youth, luxuries and world travel were pleasurable; now, being grounded in his own kitchens makes him the happiest. “The gratification that comes from pleasing people while being creative has truly fulfilled my career dreams” With a passion for life that he manifests through food and service, Feker is becoming a unique figure in today's restaurant world. Now, he has gone one step further and created a Culinary Studio
and a Chef Counter adjacent to his restaurant where he personally hosts private dinners, beer and wine tastings, one-on-one, hands-on lessons with Chef Feker as well as TV filming and much more: “I have been blessed with my passion for life that I manifest through food, but to be able to absorb more I need to share some. I do that at my Chef’s Counter through my demonstrational and hands-on cooking classes. It is my mission to bring all back to the table, whether mine or theirs is irrelevant, as long as I have a chance to answer the complicated unknowns, and make cooking an accessible and joyful experience.”
Chef Feker has appeared on various media outlets from radio
to TV to his YouTube Channel: Milwaukee’s local WISN channel 12 (ABC); the
Morning Blend on TMJ4 (NBC); Wake-Up
and Feker’s Kitchen
, where he performs for
24 minutes as a part of the Saturday Morning Local News on FOX 6. In additional,
“Feker’s Culinary Magic,” produced and directed by Feker himself, aired on Time
Warner Cable as Milwaukee’s only local cooking show, where Feker performed his
culinary secrets in front of a live studio audience. He can also be seen on
Aurora hospitals’ in-house television network, Skylite, where patients can
learn about cooking and eating healthy so that they can take better care of
themselves when the leave the hospital. Feker also makes personal appearances
at local events such as the Wisconsin
Wine and Dine,
and the International
House Ware Expo in Chicago.
His healthy flavor revolution is taking people over like a tsunami!