Chef Michael Mueller has led the kitchen at Café & Lurcat in Naples since 2014. In 2016, he was promoted him to Executive Chef of the D’Amico & Partners American restaurants, which include the Lurcat properties in Naples and Minneapolis, and Masa in Naples. His broad range of experience within the company made him an easy choice for this role, which involves assisting in menu development and mentoring the other chefs, as well as continuing to oversee the Lurcat kitchen in Naples. His respect for his kitchen teams, organization and creativity will continue to put D’Amico Restaurants at the forefront of the culinary market.
Chef Mueller has worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. He began working in the front of the house as a teenager and after just a few years he transferred into the kitchen with guidance and inspiration from his parents, both avid cooks.
While completing his business degree at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, he continued to cook at restaurants in Duluth and Minneapolis. Upon graduation, he moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America. While in school, he took the train into New York City to stage at Jean-Georges, securing his internship there.
After four years of rigorous training in New York, including many 100+ hour work weeks, Mueller had held positions at Jean-Georges, Andrew Carmelllini’s A Voce, Nobu 57 NYC and Geophry Zakarian's Country.
Chef Mueller has worked in many D’Amico properties over his career: D’Amico & Sons Commissary in Minneapolis; Campiello in Eden Prairie, Minn.; Campiello in Uptown (Minneapolis), D’Amico Kitchen and D’Amico Cucina in Minneapolis: Café & Bar Lurcat in Naples; and Masa in Naples, where he was the opening chef. In 2014, he returned to Lurcat as Chef, where he developed the Voyage menu program; a culinary journey that highlights places he has travelled.
Interestingly, he has always worked at restaurants – going back to age 13 when he cooked 300 chickens outdoors for company picnics at Cedar Lake Farm in New Prague, Minn. Even before that, his parents frequently hosted dinner parties and he invariably ended up in the kitchen. Richard D’Amico his godfather inspired Chef to achieve that sort of culinary success from a young age, he even dressing up as a chef for Halloween.
Chef Mueller lives in Naples with his wife, Sara, his young sons Maverick and Kyen, and two Golden Retrievers Cuda and Maya. You can follow Chef and his team through their menu development on Instagram, @chefmichaelmueller.