Professional History Chef Michael Niksic’s cooking career began on the Southside of Chicago in the Rupcich Family restaurant in 1976. At the time a familiar gathering place for many of the Chicago Bears football players. He entered the Washburne Trade School in June of 1976, and graduated from the Chef’s Training Program in May of 1978. He also successfully completed a Meat Cutting program at the Washburne Trade School after his Chef Training. He apprenticed as a line cook, sauté cook, grill man and banquet cook under Stuart Johnson at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in the 4 star French Restaurant Truffles. He also worked under the direction of Leo Kessler and Jose Robles. His cooking foundation was established during the Nouvelle Cuisine cooking revolution that swept through Chicago in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. His culinary pedigree encompass both pastries & breads Chef Niksic stamped his name in Chicago’s cuisine when he opened La Grillade, the first Mesquite grilling fine dining restaurant in the area and arguably the first true fusion restaurant in the Chicago area. He also made cooking impressions at Periwinkle’s Café, Montana Street Café, Ciel Bleu, and the Northside Café. He has opened, or helped open over 22 restaurants of various cuisine and themes. His cooking classes routinely fill to capacity with a waiting list. 2014 marks the 10th year he has been conducting these classes & programs. He is also one of the first Chefs listed in the Registry of Professional Chefs in America, an elite listing created by Jesse Sartain and his cooking peers. He was presented with a lifetime achievement award in 2000. Chef Niksic’c career seems to always be one step ahead of the cooking trends in the Chicago market. Chef Niksic is an accomplished skilled chef in multiple cuisines including French, Northern & Southern Italian, Southwestern, Creole, Mid Western, German, Mexican, Chinese, and American Coastal regional styles. His business acumen has led him to be successful in fine dining, casual, Hotels, Country clubs, upscale, breakfast, fast food, banquets, catering, out door café, bar & grill, and deli style food service operations. Currently he has released his first Instructional Culinary DVD Serious Chili. His 2nd DVD, Uber Cool Gingerbread Houses are on sale. In the works are 2 cookbooks including and autobiographical cookbook titled "Fish Fear My Name". He has compiled appearances at the Great American Cooking Expo as Culinary Stage MC and Programmer, Chicago Flower & Garden Show, Taste of Chicago, and Taste of Polonia. 2011 has seen him branching out into more commercial presentations. He has become the #1 Independent Instructional Culinary Presenter in all of Illinois within the Public Library system. His ebay store 1/72 Legions In Plastic Depotis top rated boasting 16,000+ transactions. He runs simultaneously The FoodMercenary You Tube Channel, Face Book page(s), FreeCookingPrograms.com, TheFoodMercenary.com, LegionsInPlastic.com, LinkedIn-Cutting Edge Chefs, Twitter, WebShots.com, MySpace, & Yahoo Answers.
Why "The Food Mercenary"? I have been asked many times in my career what my specialty is. I almost always
replied that I am a mercenary, paid to produce food. The style, or cuisine is not a major concern or desire. Personally, I love Italian,
Northern and Southern, Southwestern, Chinese, French Nouvelle, Regional American, Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines. Now, if a chef chooses to be known for a specialty(dish) that is his or her choice. For my taste, that is a very narrow view of what a chef should be and reduces the actual
significance of the title, by the response itself. There should never be "secrets" when it comes to cooking. In my world, the words
"secret recipe" is an indicator to professional insecurity. Cooking, & food, is meant to be shared, so the word secret has no place in
the same sentence.
NORTH AMERICA'S MOST EXTREME CHEF!
Welcome to my world. I am an accomplished professional freestyle jet skier. I run one of Ebay's coolest specialty Toy Soldier Stores, 1/72 LEGIONS IN PLASTIC DEPOT.
Now really, no menu boasts this combination! I am a certified food service sanitation manager for the state of Illinois. My programs are insured. My cooking classes feature the finest cookware, best available ingredients, music, beverages, video clips, substantial tasting portions, prizes, NO sales and lots of fun. My popular original recipes from my numerous experiences as a
chef run the gamut from pastries to sauces. All converted for home use. Clear instructional methods, fun
familiar communication, with a full menu of enthusiasm. The cooking classes cover a wide range of subjects suitable for all cooking skill levels and age groups. Substantial tastings, 95% of all cooking classes listed here are free to the general public, conducted by myself, a career Professional Chef. I have been dominating Northern Illinois cooking classes and waterways for over 20 years. Students of all ages and skill levels have drawn on my expertise in the world of food.
I have appeared on the following stations and networks to date over 18 years.
ABC TV-FOX TV– CBS TV – UPN TV ESPN SPORTSCENTER- HDTV - NBC TV - WGN TV Superstation THE
WEATHER CHANNEL FOX SPORTS NET – DET-CHI VIDEO CLTV - Metro Mix WBBM AM
780 – THE SCORE AM 670 – WLUP FM 97.9– WXRT FM 93.1– ESPN AM 1000-WGN AM 720-
I have appeared in or been covered by these fine printed newspapers and magazines to date over 25 years.
NEWSWEEK –CHICAGO-TRIBUNE – JET SPORTS-THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES – SPORTS ILLUSTRATED –
PIONEER PRESS – HAMMOND TIMES -THE DAILY SOUTHTOWN – THE NEWS SUN – KENOSHA
NEWS – WINDY CITY-SPORTS – LERNER NEWS- PLAYBOY - THE DAILY HERALD
1st DVD SERIOUS CHILI now on Sale! 2nd DVD BUILDING GINGERBREAD HOUSES WITHOUT PERMITS now on sale! Auto Biographical Cook Book "Fish Fear My Name" in progress. Chef Niksic is also putting together a Polish CookBook with a healthier and
progressive approach made simple for the average household. Featured Pro freestyle Jet Skier in Det-Chi video Action Sports-Music DVDs sold & distributed world wide. Also appeared in the movie MAKING WAVES. Over 750 live and taped interviews, features and teasers combined and counting broadcast on network and cable TV. Over 400 different printed articles, cover stories and pictures nation wide and in the Chicago metro area.
FISH FEAR MY NAME - AMONG OTHERS!
Chef Michael Niksic - The FoodMercenary