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Who is the “Real” Chef Michael Salmon?

Will the real Chef Michael Salmon please stand up? I’m Chef Michael Salmon, no, I’m Chef Michael Salmon. Well, it turns out that we both are the real thing. Unfortunately for me, he is the more famous one. 

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So, we are in Wellington, FL watching horsey things and I get a text from Palm Beach Illustrated Magazine that they would like a few quotes about the concept at FlyBird for an upcoming article. I answered back, “wrong Chef Michael Salmon”. Now, I’m curious. So I google “FlyBird”, and it turns out that it is a restaurant in Delray Beach, about 40 minutes from where we are staying, and, we had a free day. So I put it in Google maps and we drove down for lunch, hoping the chef would be in. I was always aware of his presence in the world…a veteran NYC chef, a finalist on “Next Food Network Star”, former private chef for NY Mayor Ed Koch, radio talk-show host in NYC, to name a few. A pretty extensive and impressive career, all in all. 

FlyBird is a small casual Chargrill Chicken restaurant in a nice Delray Beach shopping plaza. The interior is very welcoming with retro touches and pop art. The chicken is DELICIOUS, cooked over a custom grill with not just Mesquite charcoal, but he throws in oak, hickory and apple wood logs that he brings in from South Carolina. The unique sides were generous (I had roasted beets with lemon & dill, Mac with 3 cheeses and homemade potato chips fried in peanut oil…YUM!) and the chicken comes with a roasted head of garlic, charred 1/2 lemon and a cilantro-jalapeño sauce.

I placed my order and asked it the chef was in. Cheri behind the counter (who was originally from Maine,  and as nice as can be) asks “who is asking” and I said “Chef Michael Salmon”. She got a funny look on her face and played along. I sat down, started eating when the Chef appears in the restaurant and asks “is Michael Salmon here?” What a great personality this guy has. We get to talking and we have a lot in common, other than our names and the title of “Chef”. We both graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, both worked in NYC at the same time and were aware of each other’s restaurants and it turned out that he was the Michael Salmon that had interviewed me on his radio show “Wild Salmon” 10 years back or so. What a small world!

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He brought out his famous Coconut Tapioca for dessert, topped with chopped fresh mango from his tree at home. It was delicious. We can’t get mangoes like that in Maine! When I was leaving I told him that I would bring my chef coat next year and we could have a little throw down…he agreed. He has 10 years on me, so I better get cracking on the whole “famous” thing if I’m going to catch up.

If you find yourself in the Delray Beach area, it is well worth a trip. Thank you Chef!

FlyBird, 335 E Linton Boulevard Delray Beach, FL 33483  –  Phone: 561.243.1111  –  website: FlyBirdfood.com 

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