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Exploring Life & Business with Michael Rossi of THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Rossi.

Hi Michael, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My culinary journey started in 1995 when I moved to San Francisco, CA to attend the prestigious California Culinary Academy. That was where my eyes (and stomach) would be opened to the many different types of cuisine from around the world, and where my passion to explore them was born. In a city of 5,000 restaurants, it was a culinary student’s dream to be able to try so many different styles of food from so many different countries, all in one city. I have been blessed that my career as a professional Chef has taken me across the globe. I have been able to go truffle hunting in Alba, Italy, visit sustainable salmon farms in British Columbia, Canada, harvest grapes in Bordeaux, France and tour the lush pastures of Tasmania to learn all about grass-fed beef. It’s these experiences that help inspire me in my current role as Executive Chef of THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim, CA. The cuisine that we cook at THE RANCH is influenced by our partnerships with farmers, ranchers, fishermen, bakers and artisan cheesemakers that honor the season’s best in local and regional ingredients.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t always been the smoothest road, but I have always lived by the mantra; “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” Early in my career, while living and going to another culinary school in Italy, I worked throughout the country as a line cook in a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants. I would work for free, and in return the restaurant that I was working for would provide me with an apartment to live in. There were many days that I just thought to myself, “Is this all worth it?”. I was 8,000 miles from home and working in restaurants where, at the time, I didn’t speak the native language. But the reward of learning a craft has always been about perseverance and hard work.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon?
A lot has happened since joining THE RANCH as the inaugural Executive Chef in July of 2010. With the Restaurant, Saloon and Events Center, our venue now totals 35,000 square feet of usable space under one roof – our culinary team supports all three venues. We strive to provide our guests with delicious hand-crafted food, exceptional beverages, and memorable experiences when they dine with us at THE RANCH. We work very hard to educate our staff, both front & back of the house. It’s important for us all to keep learning in this ever-evolving industry. Our cooking style focuses on cooking with the seasons. We are blessed to have our own 2-acre heirloom vegetable farm owned by THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon’s founder Andrew Edwards. We grow heirloom tomatoes, corn, zucchini, beets, melons, beans, fig and pomegranate trees on the property.

As a dining destination that shares the same dedication to wine, our 10,000+ wine cellar has been awarded the distinguished Wine Spectator ‘Award of Excellence’. It was built by Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and we currently have 12 sommeliers on staff. Prior to the global pandemic, we were Orange County’s top dining & entertainment destination. Since March of this year, we have been able to make many transitions in services like offering lunch, curbside pick-up, delivery and family-style meals to-go, all areas of service never before available due to our focus on in-house hospitality. We really look forward to welcoming our guests back into the restaurant at the start of 2021.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
Trying not to sound cliché, my fondest childhood memories were sitting at my Grandmother’s kitchen table eating her home-made pizza straight from the oven. On many occasions, she would make 30 hand-made pizzas in one night for family and friends. This is where my passion for food came from… my Grandma Rossi’s Kitchen!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Personal Photo of Executive Chef Michael Rossi, credit: @ChefsRoll Executive Chef Michael Rossi with Skuna Bay Salmon, credit: Native Four All food images, credit: Swimm Social All other images, credit: THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon

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