Awards I've won

House of Sandeman

In 1995, while attending the California Culinary Academy, I entered and won a wine and food pairing contest sponsored by The House of Sandeman. The House of Sandeman has been making and shipping wines from Spain and Portugal for over two hundred years. Sandeman specializes in Port and Sherry wines.

The Grand Prize was all expenses-paid tour of The House of Sandeman's operations in Portugal. We stayed in Oporto and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of George Sandeman and his staff as they showed us the Sandeman Lodge near Oporto as well as their vineyard estate on the Duoro River about 90 miles east of Oporto. You can get a glimpse of the House of Sandeman at their website.

Now in it's 7th generation of leadership, current Chairman George Sandeman was brought up in England and Spain. He began his apprenticeship in the wine business in 1971, working in Oporto, Portugal, and Jerez, Spain, as well as several different wine companies before joining The House of Sandeman in London in 1977. In 1990 he was appointed General Manager for The House of Sandeman and in 1991 he became Chairman of The House of Sandeman, following the retirement of his father, David Sandeman

My winning menu consisted of four courses, each to be either paired or prepared with a Sandeman Port or Sherry.
Annual Quady Wine and Dessert Pairing Contest

At the 12th annual and Dessert Pairing Competition, held Monday August 2, 1999 at San Francisco's Hotel Monaco. I entered for Walker's Restaurant, my place of employment at that time. I took Second Place honors among the 24 restaurants participating. My Pineapple-Rhubarb Sorbet with a Coconut Meringue Shell was unique amongst the group, in that it was the only dessert to feature pineapple as its main ingredient.

That years contest featured Quady's Elysium dessert wine made with Black Muscat grapes. Open to restaurant chefs who then tasted the wine and determined which ingredients or combination of ingredients would best pair with this wine for a dessert course. I knew that I wanted something with nice acidity. Originally, I thought of tart, green apples. But, I wasn't confident of getting the kind of apple that would best suit me at that time of the year. Then I ran across some rhubarb juice I had frozen since we made rhubarb pies at Christmas. That was it, I knew I where I had to go!

The competition was stiff. Restaurants from all over northern California entered the prestigious contest, including the Awanee Hotel in Yosemite and Auberge Du Soliel in the Napa Valley. Top Bay Area restaurants were represented by Rubicon, the Cypress Club, the Clift Hotel, Lalime's and Pastis to name a few. The First Place prize went to the Park Hyatt Hotel.

KGO radio host, Gene Burns, a judge at the event, raved about my dessert: "Nothing we tasted of the 24 desserts ... in my view, married the Elysium better than the combination of pineapple and rhubarb." His comments were heard on his weekly "Dining Around" show on Saturday August 7. "It absolutely sang a symphony on my palate"

Bio, Chef Michael Reining
Who cooked this up?
June, 28, 1989
Hi, I'm Michael Reining, Host and Producer of The Radio Kitchen. That's me cooking my favorite, lobster! I usually don't wear that cheesy Chef hat too much. Makes me look like a pizza guy!

Where I've Worked

Currently, I am doing in-home catering in the San Francisco bay area. If you are interested in having me cook for you and your guests in your home, click on the link just to the right. More recently, I served as Executive Chef at Piacere Restaurant in San Carlos. I've also worked on a ship in the Bering Sea in Alaska, consulted at Jasper's Corner Tap and Kitchen as well as catering events at the South Beach Yacht Club and the Golden Gate Yacht Club (the home club of the Americas Cup). I was the Chef at Postrio Café and Bar in San Francisco.

I have been honored to work with some great chefs and business owners, like the Fifth Floor Restaurant in San Francisco, the Pleasanton Hotel Restaurant in Pleasanton, California. And some of the top caterers in the bay area including Paula Le Duc, Trumpetvine and Gimanelli's. I was the Chef at the Richmond Yacht Club. And I have cooked at numerous restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area including The Claremont Resort & Hotel, Lulu, Barones, Walkers and New Rochelle.

Before attending and graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, I was in radio broadcasting for over 15 years. Taking my radio experience along with my culinary background, I developed The Radio Kitchen. On the program I talk to the current movers and shakers in the food biz and present their stories to you.
• :Smoked Quail on Tapenade Crouton

• Sherry Braised Chestnut Ravioli with Leeks & Cranberries

• Port Patty Melt with Potato Duchesse "Bun"

• Port Poached Pears Dipped in Chocolate

• Pineapple-Rhubarb Sorbet with Coconut Meringue Shell
(Our Sponsors)
Share this page
Chef Mike's Catering menus
Contact us: