Chef Michael O’Dowd is a culinary maverick and also has been called a “culinary genius”. Never one to follow the herd, O'Dowd's culinary style frequently bucks the system and he yawns at the idea of anything ordinary. He was the driving force behind the development of the culinary concepts for the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa including Kai, earning Kai the coveted AAA Five Diamond & Forbes Five Star awards; the only restaurant in Arizona to receive this honor and first in history to do this by merging Native American ingredients. He coined the phrase “Native American Cuisine with Global Accents”. His flair for unique and mind-bending cuisine came home when O’Dowd embraced entrepreneurism and had opened and MOD-ernized Renegade by MOD in North Scottsdale as well as Wicked Six Bar & Grill by MOD in Fountain Hills. Chef O’Dowd has left his imprint in North Scottsdale and has founded his own company The MOD Restaurant Group LLC specializing in retail, consulting, restaurant builds and ownership scented with customized catering. He sold his restaurant Urban Vine | Kitchen | Hops | Grapes | on 7th street in Phoenix which was another illustration of O’Dowd’s personal touch and passion and had rave reviews from Howard Seftel (4 stars) and Phoenix Magazine. Phoenix Magazine named Urban Vine the top 10 new restaurants. Howard Seftel named Urban Vine to his top 10 best new restaurants.
He has a comprehensive background in banquets, restaurants and fine dining kitchen operations with experience in pre-openings, kitchen design & strategy, scheduling, purchasing, inventory controls, cost controls, vendor relationships & quality control of all related products including ownership history along with stakeholder accountability.
Skilled in developing innovative menu concepts; experienced with a wide variety of cuisines including cuisine that has yet to be re-imagined & defined. Fully experienced with sous-vide, curing, molecular gastronomy and the free form writing of menus, driving social media awareness & involvement, T.V., radio, live cooking demonstrations, creative photo shoots, promotional creation and implementation, off-site catering, marketing, charity involvement and organization.
Chef has also co-authored a cookbook entitled “The New Native American Cuisine” and was a feature writer for Scottsdale Weddings.
Besides L’Auberge de Sedona his breadth of experience includes positions at several five-star, five-diamond resorts like The Jefferson Hotel in Washington D.C., where he created New Virginian Cuisine, The Sutton Place Hotel & Tremont in Chicago, as well as The Ritz-Carlton & Stanhope Hotels in New York City and the now Sunset Tower in California.
His culinary talents have been acknowledged with kudos from both celebrities and culinary notables. Chefs of America named him to their "Top 2000 Best Chefs in USA" list; The Today Show invited him to be their guest chef and he was also on the opening of The David Letterman Show. On the restaurant side Chef O'Dowd has ignited in some of New York City’s most respected and high profile restaurants to include Le Cirque, Bouley, Aureole, River Cafe as well as locally in Arizona at the former Five Star, Five Diamond restaurant Marquesa.
Chef builds on a solid foundation of both classical methods and current trends of tomorrow bringing passion and vision to unique plate presentations emphasizing height, color, texture and flavor infusing all of the senses. Each theme and menu has a cultural relevance scented with storytelling to include steps of service and hand crafted dishes. His background also includes fine wines and spirits as he grew up in the vineyards while his dad was part of Seagram's Executive Elite.
Chef O'Dowd studied business management at the University of Florida, audited classes at the Culinary Institute of America and Greystone and has worked with Michelin chefs Guenter Seeger, Boris Keller and Pierre Orsi. Chef was also on the Land O’ Lakes advisory board, is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and is a member of several Food & Beverage organizations.
On the fun side Chef’s musical range is from Tool to Mozart, racing cars on track, fly fishing, the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
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