Michael Fojtasek

Executive Chef, Olamaie

Michael Fojtasek began his culinary career at FINO Restaurant in Austin. Shortly after walking into the FINO kitchen, Michael realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life working in restaurants. Michael quickly worked his way from stagiaire to prep cook and then to line cook.

After a culinary trip to some of New York’s finest dining establishments with Kent Rathbun, Michael was offered a position at Rathbun’s Dallas restaurant, Abacus, which was his first opportunity to work in fine dining. Mobil Four Star, AAA Four Diamond, and Bon Appétit’s “Best of the Year” 2001 were some of the accolades already given to Abacus when Michael joined the team.

After excelling as line cook at Abacus, Michael attended The Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena. While attending the west coast extension of the world’s best culinary college, Michael continued his education with an externship at Per Se.

After landing a job working in the Per Se kitchen for one night only, Chef Jonathan Benno offered him the chance to spend his externship working with the Per Se team. Per Se had accumulated a Michelin Three Star and New York Times Four Star review along with being designated a San Pellegrino Best Restaurants in the World Number Six when Michael began work there. At the end of his externship, Michael was extended an open opportunity to work at Per Se for Chef Benno.

Michael returned to Northern California to finish culinary school. His experience at Per Se provided an opportunity to work at The French Laundry for a short time before school began again. Following this, Michael worked as daily volunteer in The French Laundry garden.

After his final semester, Michael moved back to New York City to work at Chef Benno’s Italian restaurant in New York City, Lincoln Ristorante. Working the pasta station at Lincoln taught him what it takes to be a line cook in New York at the top.

In late 2011, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, of Animal and Son of a Gun in Los Angeles, caught Michael’s attention. He moved across the country, again, to work at Son of a Gun. Michael once again quickly became a leader in the kitchen. His culinary skill, dedication to the restaurant, and bi-weekly trips to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market earned him a sous chef position.

Opened in August 2014, Olamaie brings the taste of the South with a new modern spin to downtown Austin with seasonal dishes and farm-to-table ingredients. Since opening, Olamaie has received numerous accolades including being named as a 2015 James Beard Awards semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant,” 2015 Food & Wine Magazine “Best New Chefs,” featured as the second Best New Restaurant in Texas Monthly’s “Where To Eat Now” in 2015, and named “2015 Best Restaurant in Austin” by the Austin American-Statesman.