Michael Muser on Lessons From Working With The Top 0.1%, Starting a Three-Michelin Star Restaurant and Photography


If you go out and pay this much money to have this lavish experience and you don't have fun, what is that? You didn't have a blast? It's the first thing you should say when you leave. The food is not a part of any of that process. That's all about experience and warmth and connection to your client.

—Michael Muser

Michael Muser is a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry and an accomplished sommelier. Food and Wine Magazine named him a Sommelier of the Year in 2014, and Muser has worked side-by-side with Chef Curtis Duffy since 2009. 

Michael Muser and Chef Duffy opened Ever in 2020, and Ever earned two Michelin stars for its first few months of service.
His previous two restaurants with Curtis Duffy, Avenues and Grace, earned two and three Michelin stars, respectively.  

Michael has hosted the annual Jean Banchet Awards and lent his support and talents to the Grand Chef’s Gala, both of which benefited the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Greater Illinois. 

In the 2016 documentary “For Grace,” filmmakers chronicled the creation of Chef Duffy’s former restaurant with Michael, including his role in its journey from a concrete box to opening night. It's streaming on Amazon Prime and YouTube Movies.
Michael is also an avid motorcyclist and photographer – which is how our worlds came to collide….

I highly recommend listening to the entire episode where Michael talks about his experiences working with the top 0.1% best in the world, how he studied winemaking, where he got a taste of the culinary industry, what it means for a restaurateur to earn a Michelin star, bounce back from a closed business, and open another one in the time of the pandemic, and lastly, how he deals with raising a daughter. 

Please Enjoy!

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • How Michael and Pierre met. [02:34]
  • Being a 3-Michelin Star means excellence in every corner. [10:16]
  • Explaining what a 3-Michelin Star restaurant is. [12:52]
  • The artistic culinary experience at a 3-Michelin Star restaurant. [13:17]
  • Seeing people with their own story, not just as clients. [21:48]
  • Dining has a rhythm and cadence. [28:50]
  • How Michael ended up in the culinary industry. [32:20]
  • Michael met his mentor Wayne Gotts. [38:51]
  • On his experiences studying winemaking. [40:23]
  • On serving as Wine Director of the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. [45:24]
  • Meeting Chef Curtis Duffy and opening the Grace restaurant. [47:18]
  • Culinary schools don't teach chefs how not to get screwed by a businessman. [48:16]
  • Launching a restaurant at a time of the pandemic. [59:33]
  • The birth of Reve Burger. [1:06:03]
  • Shooting video in Ever's silent kitchen. [1:18:02]
  • Culinary as a communal work and photography as a solitary job [1:19:48]
  • Figuring out how to raise a child. [1:27:34]

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