Michael Barrera

August 23, 2016 | Fall 2016 Chefs

Michael Barrera


24 years ago, Michael Barrera took a job as a dishwasher at a buffet restaurant in Saginaw, Mi., little did he know that job was the beginning of his hospitality career. He move on to roasting chickens, making sides, waiting tables, bussing, bartending, and everything in between during the next 8 years in Saginaw and Lansing. Different stints at various local colleges didn’t have the effect his parents or he had hoped for in terms of a long and fruitful “career”. One thing that was always constant was his working in an industry that calls you, you don’t call it.

In early September of 2001, Michael packed up his belongings in a four door Chevy Lumina and drove himself to Philadelphia to attend The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. He dove head in and applied at the famed Starr Restaurant Group where he gained employment at the Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar in Old City Philadelphia under the tutelage of Chef William Murphy. As Michael was in school full time he rose up the ranks at the restaurant to become sous chef in 2003. That same year Michael married Alejandra Alvarado, a fellow culinary student at the school.

In 2005, Michael, Alejandra, and their first born son Nicolas, packed up and moved to Ferndale Mi. Michael gained employment at The Roberts Restaurant Group at The Beverly Hills Grill. He worked under Chef Chris Johnson, currently of The Meeting House, for 5 years. He learned and grew as a person, father, and chef in that time. In the spring of 2010, Michael was asked to take the helm at Streetside Seafood in Birmingham. Over the next 4 ½ years he cultivated some great relationships with staff and guests alike. He was honored to cook in the first two Young Guns dinners at The Root in White Lake and at Terry B’s in Dexter. There he met some amazing chefs and friends who share the same passion for food and culture here in Michigan.

Early November of 2014, Michael decided to leave Streetside and take a hiatus from the industry for a short time. This time was spent reconnecting with his children, wife, and the rest of his family which have been so supportive of him. In February of 2015, Michael accepted the position as Executive Chef of Townhouse in Birmingham. He saw not only a great concept but a chance to thrive in a growing company. He soon moved to Townhouse Detroit in the fall of 2015 as Executive Chef. He is working with owner and operator Jeremy Sasson directly building a multi-concept hospitality group with its roots firmly planted in metro Detroit. Michael believes tonight’s dinner to be another giant highlight in his career. “The opportunity to cook alongside Marjorie is more than an honor.” “Her passion for using sustainable and clean ingredients speaks volumes about her food” “It’s a bit of a homecoming of sorts also as we both share the same alma mater in Philadelphia”