Chef Q&A: Michael J. Case

Chef: Michael J. Case

Restaurant: Porky’s Last Stand, 701 Bald Eagle Dr. (Pelican Plaza) Phone: 394-8727

Title: Head Chef/Kitchen Manager

Began working at present restaurant: I started as a line cook in 2001, then worked my way up and was promoted to head chef/kitchen manager three years and one month ago exactly!

Where did you do your training?

I earned my associates degree from the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, Miami, Florida. In addition, I have extensive hands-on cooking experience, especially in barbecue, from working in various restaurant kitchens in the Naples area.

What was your first restaurant job?

Both the old Shoney’s on the East Trail that’s now Fitzgerald’s and T.G.I.Friday’s in Naples.

Chef Michael Case of Porky’s Last Stand Restaurant displays a morning breakfast dish, a western omelet with home fries and bacon, and a weekend special, sirloin steak and a half rack of baby back ribs.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE, Eagle staff

Chef Michael Case of Porky’s Last Stand Restaurant displays a morning breakfast dish, a western omelet with home fries and bacon, and a weekend special, sirloin steak and a half rack of baby back ribs.

How long have you been cooking professionally?

Ten years, all in Naples and Marco Island. I’m a native Floridian and my family moved to Naples when I was two, but I’ve worked from bus boy to line cook in local restaurant kitchens from the time I graduated high school.

How would you describe your cooking style?

Classic American and regional specialty cuisine.

What is your most popular dish?

The baby back rib dinner platter with choice of two sides and our super salad bar, but the smaller basket portion is also a favorite.

Where do you like to eat out on the island?

Nacho Mama’s or Arturo’s depending on what I’m in the mood for.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Steak and baked potato with sour cream and butter — the works.

If you cook at home, what meal would you usually prepare?

When I cook dinner — again, it’s steak.

What is your specialty? Why?

A delicious weekend special at Porky’s Last Stand Restaurant is this eight-ounce sirloin steak and half rack of baby back ribs combo, served with sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE, Eagle staff

A delicious weekend special at Porky’s Last Stand Restaurant is this eight-ounce sirloin steak and half rack of baby back ribs combo, served with sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables.

I love to sauté seafood — it enhances the texture and taste of any fish or shellfish variety — which is why I also like to create new pasta dishes with a variety different sauces.

What was your worst kitchen disaster?

It happened when I was much younger and inexperienced, which is why I thought I could cut corners and clean a hot fryer. The fat spattered and flared up on me but I was able to put the fire out immediately and it did not set off the alarm!

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

I like having the opportunity to be creative, like cooking dishes from scratch to make food taste as good as it can be. I’m especially proud of the new breakfast menu I designed for Porky’s Sunday Brunch. The special farm-style breakfast menu is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features Porky’s Brand unique breakfast sausage and my original version of the Monte Cristo sandwich.

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