Michelle Austin has over 12 years of extensive experience covering all areas of the culinary-food service industry – from the kitchen to the boardroom. She has achieved business success and industry recognition by her creative culinary designs and logistical knowledge. Her involvement in the expansion of several food and design related companies have been noted amongst industry partners and clientele as cutting edge. With focus in menu-concept development, event coordination and extensive hands on logistic management, Austin is taking her current involvement in Just to Please You Productions as the Creative Director to the next level. JTPY focuses on the event production and consulting for companies with high end branding whose top concerns are quality and providing healthy alternatives to their current beverage and culinary products for their guests and consumers.
Austin has provided comprehensive directives that ensure the smooth and timely implementation of all consulting logistics and management for everyday dining operations, small private functions to high-volume events. She has catered up to 30,000 guests for the US Senior Golf Tournament and has run restaurants that have produced up to 600 covers in an evening. She has entertained executives, private philanthropists and has worked with clients such as Moet-Hennessy USA, LXR, American Express, Fed-Ex, US Senior Open, CNN, Bal Harbour Shops and Hyatt Hotel chain.
Prior to being the Creative Director of Just to Please You Productions, Austin was the Food & Beverage-Catering Director for the esteemed Art Basel founders the Rubell’s at their boutique Beach House Hotel in Bal Harbour. She worked for five years at BGW Design Corporation (Barton G.) as Vice President of Culinary, growing the well established catering company with her creative menu concepts as well as, participated in the development of the local acclaimed Barton G. “The Restaurant”. She has had extensive hotel and private yacht experience with chains such as the Hyatt and private companies like the Motor Yacht Carrousel. She sits on the board at family owned businesses that include Organic Market in Charleston SC, Plum Crazy Bar-Grill and Trailco Transportation in Greensboro NC.
She has done extensive private consulting for corporations, private individual’s athletes and entertainers in food design, private entertaining, menu development and is a published culinary contributor for SoBeFIt Magazine and Chef Contributor for The Tropical Diet published by Lisa Dorfman, renowned Sports Nutritionist and Olympic Nutrition Coach. She is also a published Poet, in the 2007 Immortal Verses published by the International Poets Society and has been featured in segments concerning food and design on national syndicates such as NBC and CBS. She was awarded the Most Creative Concept on behalf of Barton G. in 2004 presented by famous Chef Emeril Lagasse.
How did you become interested in cooking?
The summer I was 13, my mom got a part-time morning job. So it was up to me to make lunch for me and my sister. I'd take canned soups and macaroni-typical kid stuff and try to improve them by adding a lot of different things. Mostly, they weren't better but nonetheless, after that, I started paying more attention to how my grandmother and uncle--both fantastic cooks--did things. I continued to experiment with meals on my whole family throughout my teens. Some of my happiest childhood memories were in the kitchen or in front of a grill.
What do you love most about your industry?
The instant gratification I get when a dish, design, or event gets created and my guests or clients enjoy it. I also love using classic principals and ingredients and finding new ways to make them better, just like I did when I was growing up. That's always challenging and lots of fun for me