Michael Timmins was initiated into the world of food at a young age. His parents owned three bakeries in metro Detroit. And since that time, although Timmins has traveled the world and garnered gastronomic knowledge from the best of the best, from Japan to Germany to Israel, he sticks to his Michigan roots.
The new Michelin 3 star-rated executive chef at Austin Brothers Beer Company received his culinary training at Johnson and Wales and interned at the La Playa Beach Resort in Naples, Florida, and the renowned The French Laundry in Napa Valley. His first job out of school was with a large casino in Las Vegas, but he soon returned home to Detroit to become the head executive chef for LSG Sky Chefs at the Detroit Metro Airport. LSG Sky Chefs is the world’s largest provider of airline catering and in-flight services. Timmins, at the helm of $10.5 million in revenue for first class and business meals, also supervised every certified executive chef from every airline running through the Detroit airport. These include British Airways, Lufthansa, Japan Air, Jordan Air, Air France, American, and Southwest, just to name a few. He also had the opportunity to do research and development in his trade, training with a master sushi chef in Japan, and culinary artists across the world. After his stretch with LSG, Timmins worked in various fine dining restaurants in Ann Arbor, Iron Mountain, Sault Ste. Marie, and Roscommon.
He began with Austin Brothers in May of this year and immediately revamped their kitchen, making more room for lighter, seasonal fare. The restaurant was also a recipient of a Building Healthy Communities grant through partnerships with Taste the Local Difference and the Center for Disease Control. The overall goal of the grant is to “increase the availability of healthy food options in vending, concession, cafeterias and congregate meal sites throughout communities in northern Michigan.” Chef Timmins will be utilizing this funding for a deep freezer, to store half and whole animals and utilize more grass-fed meats in their meals, and store farm to freezer produce for off-season local options in the colder months.
When I inquired about what he was bringing to the Alpena food scene, he declared, “I’m not bringing anything new. I’m just going to keep developing what’s already here. There are a lot of capable chefs here, hands down. We all do something different. We all have our own specialty.” But, the new menu that was released earlier this month evinces that this chef knows what Michigan folks want to eat. Some of the brewery’s regular customers have remarked how excited they are to see some of the local, seasonal food trends from other parts of the state coming to Alpena. Chef has been sourcing from northeast Michigan growers and producers such as Standen Acres, Presque Isle Farm, Falls Creek Produce and Flowers, Echo Ridge Farm and Feed, and La Fresh Greens. Take a look at Timmins’ recipe with Standen Acres smoked pork chops in the recipe section of our website, and you’ll see that his food speaks for itself.
Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for Northeast Michigan. She enjoys digging, planting, and hiking in the dirt; cooking up her own recipes; drinking wine; and eating lots of fresh, seasonal produce (and anything deep-fried, in accordance with her southern heritage). Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org