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Staff Feature: What's Cooking with Chef Mike Solin C.E.C.

Chef Mike Solin's passion for great food was tended to early on. He grew up in his grandfather’s bakery, Magaziners Bakery, and before he was even a teenager he was pointedly advancing on his journey with culinary arts. At age ten he had already developed an intense love for food, and could cook a full meal by himself. By 15, he was working in a professional kitchen, moving up the ranks from dishwashing and prep to grill, and at 17 he was focused and fluent with a knife. Now, he was able to turn his attention to his own recipes and creations, expanding on his foundation by learning new skills and techniques. Still, he pursued and grew, becoming a Sous Chef. Then, after years of experience, and with the encouragement of his supportive wife, he applied to Culinary School.

Mike was certified through the American Culinary Federation, The ACF, once he graduated from Connecticut Culinary Institute. He went on to work in a new environment in the Hotel sector at the Sheraton at Bradley Airport. It was here that he first worked his way up to Executive Chef. In his next venture, he was Executive Chef with Aramark & Sodexo. Something was missing and Mike felt a pull back to his roots where he was able to explore his creativity, passion, and vision. He turned to fine dining and ran Wintonberry Country Club in Bloomfield, Connecticut; followed by The Scantic in Hampden and Famous Bills in Greenfield.

It wasn’t until after these experiences that Mike took on a new challenge- teaching! Through his time teaching Advanced Culinary arts with Branford Hall, Lincoln Culinary Hartford, Ct. and Westover Job–Core he discovered another avenue to explore his love for cooking, and to inspire others as well. Chef Mike's experiences with teaching brought him great joy and relationships. He was brought to his current kitchen at Gateway City Arts through a former student, Matt Stevens. At Gateway City Arts, Mike contributes to a community focused arts, entertainment, and dining venue. His craftsmanship and devotion shines through on each plate of the ever evolving menu, and you can feel that very passion when you enter The Bistro.

"Chef Mike Solin and I both saw that Gateway City Arts’ mission was in sync with our passion, lifetime experience and creative and innovative attitudes. Whether it is music, visual, or culinary arts; we found ourselves on the same wavelength - excited with collaborative potential for a unique contribution to our community."-Vitek Kruta, co-director of GCA

Chef Mike wants to hear from YOU! Here at GCA we are excited to offer a new platform for the community to write in directly to an accredited chef about all of your food and dining questions! Whether it's about experience, food, or an opinion- Chef Mike wants to answer your questions! Email Cait@gatewaycityarts.com!

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