The Mirage - Portofino - Michael LaPlaca Biography
Michael LaPlaca’s journey to becoming executive chef at Portofino is one filled with incredible learning experiences, allowing him to bring a wealth of culinary knowledge to the position.
LaPlaca began working as a cook at AOP Restaurant in Cleveland, OH in 2002 where he remained for four years. This position gave him the first taste of the food and beverage industry which ignited LaPlaca’s desire to become a chef, making him determined to take every opportunity to learn and grow within the field. In 2006, he made the move to Las Vegas where he landed a role as cook at Fiamma Trattoria & Bar at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.
During his time at Fiamma, LaPlaca decided to take his knowledge of the kitchen to the next level and attend culinary school. In December 2007, he graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas with an associate’s degree in occupational science. His extensive coursework focused on areas of study including restaurant services, management, sanitation and culinary math. LaPlaca also worked diligently to hone his knife skills, knowledge of food preparation techniques and maintenance of food safety to ensure a well-rounded knowledge of the culinary arts.
In 2008, he transitioned from his role at MGM Grand to chef de partie at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at The Venetian. In this position, his responsibilities were station-specific which increased his responsibility within the restaurant. Later that year, LaPlaca accepted a position at Wynn Las Vegas where he remained until 2010. Throughout his time at Wynn he held chef de partie roles at both Sinatra and Alex.
An opportunity arose at renowned chef David Burke’s restaurant group in New York City in November 2010. LaPlaca seized the opportunity and relocated across the country to work as a sous chef.
After six months, LaPlaca made his way back to Las Vegas to serve as executive sous chef at Bradley Ogden at Caesar’s Palace. In this role he held a large amount of responsibility which provided him the experience necessary to soon accept a position as executive chef for the popular off-Strip gourmet pizza restaurant, Due Forni. Here LaPlaca oversaw all kitchen stations and front-of-house operations.
Today, LaPlaca has found his way back to The Strip where he is in charge of menu creation and all restaurant operations as executive chef at Portofino at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. His continuing education and experience shine through in every dish served at the authentic Italian restaurant.