About Michael Tise
I am 18+ years of age Yes
2016 - Present
Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Co.
Dragonfly was, and remains to be, the place where the sporadic knowledge I\’d amassed over the years culminated into a comprehensive skill set. Working up from hotline, I am now a salaried sushi chef rolling maki, and making shashimi and nigiri. The bulk of my finer knife skills were delevoped and honed working for Dragonfly. I have learned the delicate simplicity of working with raw foods, as well as how to break down a vast array of different fish. Unlike most restaurants, Dragonfly proudly participates in the Japanese tradition of Omakase, which translates to \”trust the chef\”. In addition to rotating seasonal specials menu, this practice frequently calls for on the fly off-menu specials. To keep up with the demand and consistency of quality, I take full advantage of the creative freedom our head chef gives to us, always having a project – a sauce, a relish, a pesto etc. – in the works, ready for the moment a guest requests an Omakase from the kitchen. This has provided me with the oppurtunity to expand my knowledge explore other world cuisines, particularly, Spanish, German, and North African. This often requires the translation of recipes, swapping out ingredients for Asian ones, helping me to understand the fluidity of food.
2017 - 2018
I took advantage of the stage program Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Co. has, taking six months of unpaid leave to grow and learn in a different environment, with the goal of returning with new knowledge and techniques. I chose Toro from its reputation and returned to my home town. A Spanish tapas restaurant and bar in Boston\’s South End, Toro gave me the oppurtinty to explore the rich nature of Spanish cuisine, working with some of the best quality ingredients from all over the world. While having its own multiregional idendity, Spanish is also very French and North African thus making its food extremely diverse. Working for Toro widely expanded my knowledge of sauce making , from different types to preparation styles. My main focus while I was there was cheese and sausage making, cured meats, and whole animal butchery, all of which I simply had no exposure to in a sushi restaurant. Naturally, I worked the line as well, from grill to saute to garde manger. Here, I had to balance fire times and cook meat to temps for the first time in years, And cook eggs to order, a skill I had proud to have. I left Toro a stonger, more confident and still continue to expand the skills I learned there.
2015 - 2016
Sweet Mel\’s was a, now closed, small, family owned and operated establishment in Gainesville, Florida. It was nothing special, they served good, imaginative burgers in a rundown bar; their hearts were in the right place. They hired me to run the kitchen when the owner was not there. They tried to do as much of their prep in house as possible. The chili and Sweet Mel\’s sauce were a family recipe but the mashed potatos came in a bag and the mac and cheese was Kraft with three cheeses added. I did as I was told, as much as I could working with a single deep fryer, a flat top grill, one burner and a half a salamander. The cooking was not difficult, burgers and deep fried sides, chicken wings, a few sandwich options. I invented the nacho burger there, beef burger with guacamole, queso, jalapenos and corn chips, served with a plate of additional corn chips to catch everything that fell out of this very messy burger, thus giving you a side of nachos when you were finished. I was twenty four and very proud of that one and its wild popularity. Again, the cooking was not the challenge.
I had never managed a kitchen before, just objects. Inventory and orders were a part of my responsibilities, as well as making the schedule. The real challange was managing an underpaid, unmotivated and often intoxicated staff without the ability to really repremand, hire or fire anyone. There were a lot of pep talks in the walk in, I had to send people home and work the line alone frequently. In the throws of that I decided not to be a manager that yelled at people and belittled them in front of other people, as I had experienced. I put my head down and did whatever extra work that needed to be done to keep the kitchen running until service ended. I washed more dishes until four o\’clock in the morning than I expected as a manager. In time, I knew when to call a spade a spade and moved over to Dragonfly Sushi & Saki Co. to build upon