Michael Kloeti is the craftsman behind delicacies like house smoked Lac Brome duck breast with white salsify, radish and English pea and mint puree, or harissa braised lamb at Michael’s on the Hill in Waterbury Center. Born, raised and trained in Switzerland, he knew he wanted to diversify his cooking techniques and learn more about the cultures whose food he admired, so he and his wife, Laura Kloeti, whom he’d met working in a Swiss kitchen, relocated to New York City. Kloeti has worked in settings from New York City’s now-shuttered Lespinasse to the Four Seasons Resort Lodge at Koele in Lanai City, Hawaii. In 2002, the family opened Michael’s on the Hill, and in late 2015 took over Idletyme Brewing Co. in Stowe, formerly known as Crop Bistro. The couple has two sons, Alex, 20, and Eric, 18. Between designing mouthwatering dishes and serving guests, Chef Kloeti took the time to answer our 10 Questions.
1. What is your favorite thing about working in Stowe?
Being in the midst of natural and agricultural beauty and an incredible community.
2. What are your favorite and least favorite things about your job?
My favorite part is dealing with people. My least favorite is dealing with people.
3. What’s the craziest menu request a guest has ever asked you to accommodate — and what did you do?
While working in Manhattan, a rock star known for being eccentric ordered six whole, uncooked sea bass to his hotel room. To this day, I still have no idea what he did with them. (The Kloetis are under contract not to disclose the name of the star in question.)
4. What qualities do you most appreciate in a friend?
Loyalty and honesty, even if it may not be what you want to hear.
5. What is a talent you have, unrelated to your job, that others might not guess?
6. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to give everyone exactly what they need.
7. Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My parents, for teaching me what is important in life, and that there is a solution to every problem.
8. You are going to be away for several months alone and can bring one book, one movie, one thing to eat and one album. What would you bring?
Book — “The Old Man and The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
Movie — “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”
Food — A crusty, dark loaf of Red Hen bread
Album — “The Wall” by Pink Floyd
9. You’re having a dinner party. What three people, alive or not, real or imaginary, would you invite?
My grandmother, my father and my best childhood friend, Judith, because I would just love to see them all one more time.
10. If you were the ruler of the world, what two things would you do by decree?
1. Peace on Earth!
2. Everyone gets what they need.
Bonus round: Do you have a favorite motto, and if so, what does it mean to you?
The thought doesn’t count until the action follows.