Chefs of Indian River County with Michael Lander

Join me for this brand new video series where I sit down with local chefs from Indian River County Florida and ask them my Top “ATE” Questions to learn more about them! In this first episode, we sit down with my 2020 Golden Fork Awards Chef of the Year, Chef Michael Lander! Chef Michael focuses on using local fresh ingredients for a true farm to table dining experience!

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Q&A with Chef Michael Lander

Michael LanderI did an apprenticeship with a European chef in Atlanta at the first restaurant for Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which now has probably 15 restaurants in Atlanta, Pano’s and Paul’s, and I started there and worked my way up through the ranks, then got into the private club business, then I got into my business.

Michael LanderActually, I didn’t go to culinary school, I did an apprenticeship with a chef in Atlanta, and honestly I would suggest anybody looking to get into this field spend at least 2 years in the business before they start doling money out for school, because I don’t feel as though it gets you much further along than you can on your own. It’s the school of hard knocks is a good way to go in this business.

Michael LanderFirst culinary job was at Wendy’s, and actually when I was the executive chef at Boca Grove in Boca Raton Florida in the early 90’s, Dave the owner of Wendy’s was a member and at every cocktail party he would call me out and tell all the members this guy started his culinary career with me. That’s a good story, but it started at Wendy’s.

Michael LanderProbably a couple of things, my wife asks me this a lot, but a farmer would be one, and a doctor would be another one. I think I would have been a good general doctor, it ran in my family before me, that’s probably what I would have gone with.

Michael Lander I’m a caregiving person, I love most when I see people enjoying what we have to offer. Just enjoy everything from the time they hit the door, to service, the drink, the food, just enjoying themselves makes the journey worthwhile.

Michael LanderThat’s a tough one, obviously we do a lot of seafood here, so I would have to learn to seafood. But, uh, I like all ingredients, I’m inspired by what the farmers are growing, and what they are producing now, every year that’s growing, so it keeps me pretty motivated with what’s happening and what is going to happen.

Michael LanderProbably my iPhone. I keep in touch with farmers on a daily basis, especially during season, it’s their growing time, things are available, their not available, so there is a lot of back and forth communication. As far as in the kitchen, I would have to say a perforated spoon and a non perforated spoon, they are used constantly.

Michael LanderThat’s a tough one, I mean, I have several chef friends that work in San Francisco, New York, we keep in touch. Um, I would almost have to say the product is the most inspirational. What’s coming from the farmers, what’s coming from the fisheries, that’s kind of where I get my motivation and inspiration if you will, and it just goes day to day, working on something today, and you think, I could use that in a different way another time. It just kind of builds on itself.

Michael’s on 7th
Address: 2217 7th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone: (772) 213-8554

Written by Thomas Miller

Thomas Miller, aka “The Treasure Coast Foodie” and “The Foodie Guy” is big on organic everything and very particular about his butter. He has reviewed over 250+ local restaurants in the last 6 years! His food photos are devoured by 10’s of thousands each month on his website As a Google Maps Local Guide, he has submitted over 2,500 photos that have been viewed over 38 million times. His foodie tribe is over 25,000 on the Treasure Coast and his Foodie Meetups & Chef’s Table Dining Experience events are some of the Top Culinary experiences in the area!