Your Wednesday night dinner prospects just got a lot more interesting. Table 301 Chef, Michael Kramer is cooking a Pop-up Family Style Oktoberfest feast at the Growler Station on Wednesday night, Oct. 30. Guests will nosh on German Style Pretzels with Cherry Mustard, Spicy Arugula with Roasted Pears, Pumpkin Seeds and Parmesan Reggiano, slow Cooked Beef with Parsley-Garlic Marinade and Stout Reduction, Braised Chicken with Preserved Lemon, Pine Nuts and Rosemary, Grain Mustard Glazed Potatoes, Butternut Squash with Sage and Brown Sugar, and Warm Apple Crisp with Caramel Sea Salt Sauce… all paired with Growler Station beer.
Now down to the meat of things. Chef Kramer was nice enough to answer a few questions for us for this installment of the Gap Creek Gourmet ChefQ6. Turns out, he’s pretty dang awesome. Prepare to be impressed.
To start, Chef Michael Kramer’s credentials are a little intimidating. He started his career at La Folie under legendary French Chef Roland Passot. He worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Los Angeles and the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas under celebrity chef Dean Fearing before he was recruited to be the Executive Chef of McCrady’s in Charleston. His road doesn’t stop there. He took over as Executive Chef of Voice Restaurant at Hotel Icon in Houston in 2007, where he scored his second nod from Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants” list, and a spot on Travel and Leisure Magazine’s “50 Best New Restaurants in America.” He opened Tasting Room at City Centre in Houston and was working as Executive Chef for the Compass Group in Houston before Greenville’s famed Table 301 Restaurant Group snagged the crazy talented chef in 2013. Now he’s instrumental in creating and developing new menu items and concepts for the group, in fact, he was a big driving force behind Passerelle Bistro in Falls Park which opened this summer.
I started working in restaurants when I was 15 to pay for my surfboards, and it just took off from there. I naturally progressed into the kitchen, and I just loved it.
2. Which chefs have most impacted your career?Roland Passot of La Folie in San Francisco, Dean Fearing at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, and Marc Valiani, my former chef and Mentor who passed away 2 years ago from ALS. He was very influential.
3. When you are not in the kitchen, how do you spend your time?Cycling, I am a big roadie, and train in the hills like crazy. Spend time with my dogs, and and I try to see my little boy as much as I can he lives in Houston.
4. If we could take a peek into your home refrigerator, what would we find?
My fridge is kind of boring as I don’t eat home much, so mostly condiments, I always have Parmesan Reggiano, sea salt and olive oil on hand.
5. If you could pick one chef to cook your last meal, who would it be?Thomas Keller is still one of the most influential people in the US cooking food. I like his style, and sensibility, and it’s always honest cooking.
6. What’s been your biggest life accomplishment (so far)?Biggest life accomplishment has to be my son Evan. He is amazing.
Thank you, Chef Kramer!