Michael Foster, an experienced and passionate chef, maintains the position of Executive Chef at Mustards Grill and is proud to be part of Chef/Owner Cindy Pawlcyn’s team. Chef Foster demonstrates a mix of the very best qualities for this job – experience, curiosity and a passion for sharing knowledge. He demonstrates the very highest standards for food quality, food appearance, staff development and guest satisfaction and these are precisely our objectives at Mustards Grill, notes Pawlcyn. “I want every guest at Mustards to have an experience that ultimately becomes part of a cherished memory,” says Foster. “Cindy’s values and priorities over so many years have resulted in an ideal culture where chefs and chef-students cook and create in a highly positive environment.
Foster received his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts in 2000 from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute where he was a Graduate of the first diplomate program with Le Cordon Bleu. During school, he was most interested in French cuisine and still believes it is the foundation for all cooking, learning how to control food and making it represent what he cares about. Foster was truly interested in the way techniques were developed and passed on over decades and even centuries. Today, his focus has shifted from fascination with the purely technical to the way food is created through passion – and he loves inspiring chefs to express themselves through their work, cook from the heart and create guest experiences.
Foster’s seminal interest in French cuisine was a key factor in his decision to work with Chef Thomas Keller upon graduation from culinary school, first as Executive Sous Chef at Bouchon Bistro (Yountville, Napa Valley), then in a pre-opening capacity at Bouchon Bakery and Café, New York City (Manhattan) and at Bouchon Bistro, Las Vegas. He returned to Yountville's Bouchon Bistro as Executive Sous Chef for two years Michael was Excutive Chef for Cindy at Go Fish for 2 years and then most recently at her locals’ favorite, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen
Cooking from a place of passion is a philosophy Foster developed over the years along with his wife, a former pastry chef at Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil. She and Michael met in culinary school and they have two young daughters. He says they inspire both of them every day to cook from the heart and acknowledge how their work is connected to the meaning of life.
Foster, who is a rising star chef in his own right, is anxious to utilize Mustards Grill as a place that provides a fertile learning environment for chefs of the future. “There are so many different cooking approaches and dishes that young chefs can gain exposure to here,” comments Foster. “My own knowledge is being greatly refined through the diversity of cooking styles at Mustards and I am most eager to pass along as much knowledge as I can to student chefs who I want to encourage here. One of the most exciting elements at the restaurant is the garden. I have never had the luxury of an entire garden dedicated to a single restaurant and it enables me to plan out seasonal menus well in advance – it is a genuine thrill.”