San Francisco native Chef Mike Suttles was able to enjoy every benefit of this "melting pot" community, including exposure to exotic cuisine at a young age. "I remember my first experience with traditional Kimchee, a spicy and extremely pungent Korean condiment…I loved it! Not something that every nine year old can say." Chef Suttles attributes his culinary curiosity to his childhood memories shopping and cooking with his grandmother. A native of Nicaragua, she was amazingly talented in both Nicaraguan and Italian cuisine.
Chef Suttles began his career in a small family owned and operated restaurant in the Fillmore District of San Francisco where he was hired as a dishwasher and prep cook. Through hard work and perseverance, he reached his goal of becoming an Executive Chef. "The day I was tossed an apron and asked to cook on the line began my career as a chef. It was then that I decided to go to the Cincinnati Culinary Academy."
After graduating culinary school in the early ‘90s, a brief trip to San Diego became life changing. Suttles fell in love with the city and decided not to return home, opting instead to accept a Chef position for the Ladeki Restaurant Group. He then went on work for Chef Derek Ridgeway as a at Charlie’s in Cardiff. In 1998, Chef Mike was given the opportunity to work as the Executive Chef at Bellefleur, where he met David and Lesley who were managing the property at the time.
In 2002, Chef Suttles began working for the Cohn family at the award-winning Blue Point Coastal Cuisine as a Sous Chef under the skillful watch of Executive Chef Jonathan Hale. Suttles felt at home in this San Diego supper club environment and enjoyed the opportunity to fine tune his culinary skills. In 2006, after proving himself to be a valued member of the Cohn Restaurant Group team, David Cohn and Chef Deborah Scott approached him with the opportunity to become Chef de Cuisine at Island Prime and C Level. Chef Mike couldn’t be happier than he is at now at Island Prime and C Level, "Being able to work with Deborah Scott for the past seven years has not only taught me about excellence in cuisine, but about the importance of Southern Hospitality, which no one embraces more than she does."
In his spare time Chef Mike enjoys keeping active. Mike visits his family regularly and takes them on rafting, hiking and camping trips. He has been boxing for the past 25 years and has competed at the semi-professional level several times. He now devotes his time to training inner city kids and teenagers. The extraordinary work ethic that Mike has gained in the ring has also applied to his profession as a chef. "Lesson #1 in boxing - check your ego at the door. I feel that translates well to the kitchen."