Michael Pataran is a passionate food aficionado and has challenged traditional culinary boundaries at some of Toronto's top rated restaurants including Monsoon, Rain, Wildfire at Taboo Resort and Taboo’s Culinary Theatre with his ‘Faith’ tasting menus. Pataran’s five, seven and nine course menus enabled patrons to experience numerous specialty ingredients, food textures and cooking techniques by putting their faith - and their taste buds – into his skillful hands. By combining Contemporary ingredients with traditional Japanese, Chinese and Thai elements, Pataran continues to exceed expectations and draw accolades from the industry.
Pataran studied criminology at the University of Toronto and he credits his knowledge in this field with helping him to better understand food and how to best utilize fresh ingredients. He is fascinated by the process food undergoes and why this impacts taste and texture.
In 1989 he worked with Master Italian chef Anna Pavia of Naples for two years where he gained quick appreciation for subtle, simple and beautiful Italian cuisine. His passion for cooking escalated in 1991 during his travels to Australia. Further expeditions into the South Pacific region fueled his desire and knowledge to utilize the techniques and ingredients of this region; including Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Upon returning to Toronto, he worked in numerous fine dining downtown establishments including positions as Chef de Cuisine at the critically renowned Rain and Executive Sous Chef at Monsoon. Further travel to Portugal, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Germany rounded out his European culinary travels with diverse experiences, including a stint as a cheese producer and Restaurant Consultant for Calabria Piu/Convivio in Rossano, Italy. Pataran extended his travels through the United States and Mexico with repetitive medium-term stays throughout Southern California and the Yucatan Peninsula region of Mexico.
In July 2003 while at Wildfire, Pataran received the utmost honor by being invited to cook and host a sold out luncheon and dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City as the guest chef for Canada Day; only the second person to ever execute a luncheon and dinner event on the same day.
Wildfire and The Culinary Theatre were also given numerous awards by Frommer’s Intl. (best restaurant outside of Toronto) in 2004 and 2005.
Where to Eat in Canada voted both Wildfire and The Culinary Theatre to the “Top 25 restaurants in Canada” in both 2004 and 2005 as well.
In 2003, Sara Waxman awarded Michael the title of best Asian cuisine Chef in Toronto and the surrounding area.
Michael has appeared on Numerous Television spots including Christine Cushing Live and Food TV USA’s Sara Maulton. He has also taught several cooking classes at New York City’s world renowned French Culinary Institute (FCI) and the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE).
In 2004 Pataran traveled to Dallas where he was crowned the 2004 IAAC World International Champion Chef by defeating six other finalists from Resorts and Hotels from around the world. He continued to carve out his own culinary niche at Wildfire where patrons often drove from Toronto just to experience his creations. Due to the popularity of ‘Faith’, Wildfire adopted a smaller à la carte menu to make room for Pataran’s continually fresh and unique tasting menus.
In 2004 the Culinary Theatre was born. The theatre is a one of a kind 26-seat restaurant with plasma screens where patrons discuss and engage in conversation about food and wine while experiencing their tasting menus. Pataran was the driving force in Taboo’s culinary acclaim, making it one of the top premier resorts in all of Canada.
In 2006 Pataran received his Sakemaster certification from the SSI (Saké Service Institute) and has since written saké articles for CityBites Magazine, True Saké in San Francisco and has been published in various other publications such as LCBO Vintages magazine and The Toronto Star. In 2007 he received his (ASP) Advanced Sake Professional Certification from world renowned saké educator John Gauntner in New York City in September.
Pataran spent 2 years in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada at the Prince of Wales as Executive Chef before moving back to Toronto, where he started a multitude of projects as well as received his sommelier certification from the court of master sommeliers. Michael was the Executive Chef at The Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, where he was a critical factor in the Hotel being awarded the number one boutique hotel in Canada by Condé Naste Traveler International Magazine. He was also chosen to teach the first ever sake class for the professional sommelier course at George Brown College in Toronto and Niagara College.
Michael moved to the Bahamas in August where he opened up Shogun Revolver in Nassau, Bahamas in January 2008, which, received numerous praises and accolades from several noteworthy publications, including the title “Best Restaurant in Nassau – 2008 and 2009” (by MACO Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and Nassau Guardian), beating out Atlantis restaurants Nobu, MESA Grill and Jean-Gorges at Dune at The Ocean Club. Michael also wrote a weekly wine column called “uncorked” every Wednesday in The Nassau Guardian National Newspaper.
In 2009 Michael and his partner chose to close Shogun and Michael was offered the position of Executive Chef/Dir. Of F&B at Albany Luxury Resort community on the southern shores of New Providence Island, just outside of downtown Nassau, named one of the Western Hemisphere's top luxury products. The 600-acre resort had 5 F&B outlets for casual lounge venues to white linen fine dining.
Albany opened to a roar in October 2010 and is already renowned for being one of the worlds most high-end and exclusive resort communities. Michael was directly responsible for all facets leading to the opening of all five of the resorts outlets including project manager for all F&B areas while during the construction phase, all kitchen design, concepts and procurement of equipment and FF&E as well as all F&B operations related areas including hiring and training of all FOH and BOH staff, wine list composition, uniform design, F&B handbook manuals, menu cover design and all budgeting and forecasts for the Albany F&B Department.
Upon his departure from Albany Michael was approached to set up a detailed business plan with financial and operational guidelines for a new conceptual sushi pub and izakaya in Nassau’s newly thriving west end area between Lyford Cay and Old Fort Bay. As chief consultant, Michael outlined in full detail all aspects of the business including the full business concept and outline, revenue projections, capital budgets, staff projections, venue design and permitting, equipment and chattel procurement as well as acting liaison between construction crews and government inspectors.
In early spring 2012 Michael returned home to Toronto and has been involved with a number of consulting contracts as well as writing professionally; most currently as contributing author for Food & Wine Pairing for Dummies from the world-renowned series with master sommelier John Szabo. Michael is also the lead sake educator for the Sake Institute of Ontario’s (SIO) continuing education and information seminars for the advancement of knowledge of sake in Ontario. Since 2011 he has also been a panel tasting judge for the Ontario Wine Awards as part of 8 official tasters led by Mr. Tony Aspler. Michael was also a staff writer for winealign.com as well as CityBites Magazine, Toronto’s number one source for wine reviews and dining entertainment.
In June 2013, Michael partnered to open Cool City Oyster Yard at 99 Sudbury which opened to a rave of critical reviews and was listed as one of Toronto’s top Oyster/Seafood Experiences.
In 2015 Michael travelled once again where he was recruited for Executive Chef and F&B Director role at Song Saa Private Island, located in the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia. When the GM departed Michael was asked to fill in as interim GM while a suitable replacement was found, this lasted 6 months through the peak busy season until the end of his contract in May 2016.
Michael moved to Phnom Penh where many opportunities await. He signed on to a 6-month contract with Modernity Group and Worldbridge F&B as their Culinary Advisor/F&B Consultant.
In April 2017, Michael opened his latest new restaurant project. A Mexican Restaurant y Cantina called Agave Cocina, located in the Russian Market area in Phnom Penh.
In March 2018 Michael signed on to be the Executive CheF&B at the World-Renowned Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a Relais & Chateaux property that was awarded to the Conde Naste Gold List Top-100 Hotels & Resorts in The World, as well as making The Top-100 Hotels in The World by Elite Traveler and the #1 Most Sustainable Hotel in the world by The Boutique Hotel Awards in 2018 and 2019.