Meet the International Culinary Center alum.
It is fitting that Michael Rosenblum is the Executive Chef at the Residence of the U.S. Embassy to China. He’s been a culinary ambassador ever since he was a teenager.
Michael found his passion for Chinese cuisine early on. At the age of 15, he began working at Formosa, an authentic Chinese restaurant in Marietta, GA. He’d rise from bus boy to kitchen apprentice while there, learning both the language and culinary traditions of a Chinese kitchen, thanks to the chef and owner Andy Tam, a Hong Kong native. While not at Formosa or high school, he satisfied his driving culinary curiosity by working in a dozen local restaurants with varying specialties including Thai, French and Japanese.
Though a well-traveled child, thanks to his adventurous parents, Michael didn’t visit Asia until he was an undergraduate at Cornell University. He attended Shanghai Teacher’s University in The People’s Republic of China for a semester and experienced the breadth of the Chinese cuisine first-hand. The experience was eye-opening. He returned several times to study language and, of course, the food.
After graduating from Cornell with a B.A. in Asian Studies, he attended ICC with a James Beard Foundation Scholarship. While here, he staged at Daniel, The River Café, and for an extended time, at The Moon House Restaurant on Bayard Street, making him the first known Caucasian to apprentice in NYC’s Chinatown.
Michael owned and operated several food and beverage outlets in the U.S. before returning to China where he worked in some of the finest hotels and restaurants. He soon received a Master Chinese Pastry Chef certification from the Chinese government and then landed the position of Consulting Chef for the U.S. Department of State’s Agricultural Trade Office.
Eventually, he was approached to be the Executive Chef at the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, a position he’s held since 2013. With no need for interpreters, his kitchen staff is small and nimble. “I personally prepare every single plate, beverage or buffet dish that leaves the kitchen,” Michael says. Furthermore, he sources all the food himself. Everything is seasonal and made from scratch in his signature east meets west style.
This blog post was originally published by the International Culinary Center (ICC), founded as The French Culinary Institute (FCI). In 2020, ICE and ICC came together on one strong and dynamic national platform at ICE's campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. Explore your culinary education where the legacy lives on.