Chef Michael Bergin: Executive Chef, The Salty Pig

Raised on the south shore of Massachusetts, Chef Michael’s first passion for food was discovered while taking summer time with his Sicilian grandfather and owner of Noe and Son’s produce company. His first foray into the restaurant industry was as a dishwasher during high school at a local restaurant. Michael was given the opportunity to begin working on the line at that restaurant where his passion grew. After attending culinary school, Michael travelled to work in Washington DC and eventually back to Boston where he earned a position at Sel de la Terre in 2007. Throughout his tenure of five years with the New France company, he grew into the role of executive Sous Chef at the SDLT Back Bay and then Sous Chef at L'Espalier where he worked for Frank McClelland.

When Michael and his wife received the opportunity to move to Manhattan for work, they seized the moment and Michael joined Missy Robbin's team at A Voce. In 2013 Michael took a coveted position as Sous Chef at 3 Michelin starred restaurant Del Posto, in New York City, where he honed his precise pasta making skills. Michael and his wife were eager to get back to Boston to their friends and family where new adventures lied for them. In 2015 Michael joined the team at La Brasa to open their sister restaurant, Fat Hen, where he served as Executive Chef. He brought his vision for Italian cooking to East Somerville and developed his own voice. Taking the reigns as Executive Chef at The Salty Pig in Summer 2017, Michael brings his focus and passion for Italian cooking to this South End staple in Boston.

What do you love most about Your City?

When the seasons change it's amazing. I enjoy being able to walk the entire city on the first fall-feeling day. Sweaters come out of the closet, boots are on, the Patriots are playing, students are back in school... The city changes its identity.

And the seasons dictate how I eat and how I cook. Cooking in the summer is amazing because of it's bounty but, when Fall arrives, it pushes me to cook more from the heart, from nostalgia: game, gourds, roasts, and braises offer the narrative of my fondest cooking experiences. There is a deep patnership and connection between land and craft during Boston's Fall.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

My father in law lives in Maine and he stumbled upon this brick and mortar bagel shop in Biddeford, Maine. Rover Bagels is located on an industrial stretch of highway headed towards Portaland. Because they bake the dough in a wood fire oven, their bagels pick up this amazing smokey char. They're crunchy and chewy, smokey, acidic, salty, sweet, and amazing. When I last visited, we ushered in the morning with smoked salmon on everything bagels with heirloom tomatoes from Frinklepod Farm, grilled scallions, and cream cheese. For this breakfast, I don't mind being on a busman's holiday.

I recently heard they are opening a second location in Portland.  

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Watching ESPN while feeding my infant daughter, Josephine, her first bottle of the day.

10:00 AM - I'm at the restaurant orchestrating the day's prep and having my morning meeting with the general manager to discuss strategy and goals for the day.   

12:00 PM - Favorite Power Lunch spot/meal?

My wife and I enjoy Cafe Sushi in Cambride, Ma. We patronize them regularly. Chef Kenshi and the manager Leslie are true stewards of sincere hospitality and meretorious food. This should be every restaurant's goal: sincere generosity, delicious, thoughtful food at a price point that provokes guests to visit a couple times a week.  

7:00 PM -  Expediting dinner service and tasting enough pasta to stop a bear's heart.  

I hope I get to cook and eat pasta professionally for a long time.

11:00 PM - Dinner service is coming to an end. I begin plotting for the next day. I check in with our team members, meet with my sous chef to discuss today and tomorrow, and call my wife to say goodnight.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Like most, I need a coffee mid-day to give me that afternoon caffeine charge. Or a moutain blue gatorade.

At the end of the night I do have a penchant for beer. A favorite pairing is Nightshift Whirlpool with sour cream and onion chips.  Last meal of the day.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Instagram is making chefs insta famous so I'm working on my second career of social media content mangagement. Osteria la bucca in L.A. is cooking up some good looking food.  

What should everyone try at least once?

See Billy Joel live at Fenway Park. I saw him last month.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

The secret is going to be out of the bag but a good place to get away and think is the Cantab lounge in Cambridge, Ma. at 2 pm on a week day afternoon--you get to see a good cross secton of America in there.