Recipe for success: top chef speaks out on brotherhood
Chef Mike Shetsky (Delta Lambda–Middle Tennessee State ’07) has risen through the ranks of culinary excellence to claim a coveted role as executive chef. Although his career has taken him to restaurants across the country, he began his climb to the top chef spot during his days at MTSU.
“While in KA I did all the culinary events,” said Shetsky. “We won our annual wing fling (chicken wing cooking contest) 4 years in a row, and I always got involved in any other events that needed someone to cook.”
Mike’s passion for cooking, inspired by his grandmother’s career as a chef, led him to become executive chef at SĒR, a premiere steak restaurant atop the Hilton Anatole’s 27th floor in Dallas. The restaurant features a selection of chef specials, including the Tomahawk, a cut of 32 oz. prime angus dry aged 28 days, which will set foodies back about $135.
“If it wasn’t for KA I don’t know what I would be doing,” said Shetsky. Beyond his talent for cooking, Mike said skills developed through his involvement in KA have contributed to his success. “I learned how to talk to large groups of people, how to be personable, proper dining etiquette, time management and many other tools that I now use on a daily basis.”
“One of my pledge brothers, Jon Aguiar, was the one who encouraged me to get into the culinary field full time,” said Shetsky. From cooking Thanksgiving dinners with his big brother Shaun Phillips to receiving support from his
pledge class, Mike said The Order helped him pursue his passion for the culinary arts. “They above all taught me to respect what I do, and the people I work with, no matter what.”
Shetsky has a piece of advice to share with undergraduates as they begin their careers. “No matter what their dream or passion in life is, no matter how small, they need to follow and stay on that path. Don’t be afraid to use the connections you gain through KA, because that is what we are all here for!”
Mike’s path continues to take shape as he explores new opportunities to craft quality cuisine. He recently accepted the executive chef role at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Nashville, which boasts a selection of sushi and cigars, in addition to the steak for which Shetsky is known.
Chef Shetsky is pictured at Dining Out in Dallas, where he took home the Top Chef Award in 2017. The event benefits the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation.