Meet the Chef: Michael Cipollo

Meet The Chef

Chef Mike is the mastermind behind local gems, FSH&CHP and HAMBRGR. We sat down and asked him a few questions about his restaurants and the food industry in Hamilton.

Where did you learn to cook?

Studying recipes and techniques was an important part of the process, but I found I really learnt to cook when I chose to do it as a lifestyle. You never stop learning, you find inspiration from the most insignificant things, and look to evoke that one item, ingredient, emotion or feeling into what you do. Each season, each harvest, each animal brings a new opportunity to continue to evolve.

Where do you source your ingredients from?

When I’m out looking for ingredients, I try to find like minded purveyors. When you start dealing with people who have the same passion about what they do as you do in yourself, you can’t go wrong.

What was the inspiration behind HAMBRGR?

Hambrgr was born out of a walk my wife Paola and I took down King William Street in Hamilton. We passed by this space and said “this spot would make a cool little craft beer and burger shop” – we visualized it right then and there. A from scratch place serving unpretentious food that anyone could enjoy. We discussed it and 4 weeks later we opened. Coming from a background of high end, service focused restaurants we wanted to apply those same principals into something that we believed in.

Why Hamilton?

Because there is no other city that can match the pride that Hamilton has. Hamilton’s got that vibe that just makes you want to be part of it. Great things are happening here and everyone that calls this city home knows it and loves it.

There’s always something new and funky coming out of your restaurants. How do you ensure that creativity is supported at each location?

It’s a collaborative approach. I have chefs and sous chefs in our kitchens that are all given opportunities to be part of the process. We are always discussing new ideas, challenges and different ways of thinking. We are always trying to out do each other as well. It’s very focused and thought provoking, often with a splash of music, movies or science tossed in just to keep it interesting. I really believe that this is the best way to build a positive culture, and that will reflect back on the experience people have in our restaurants.

instagram: @hambrgrhamilton
twitter: @hambrgr

instagram: @fshandchp
twitter: @fshandchp

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