As the Lynnwood Convention Center celebrates its 15-year anniversary, the venue is also celebrating the chef who has been with the venue since it opened its doors.
For the last 15 years, executive chef Michael Felsenstein has prepared delectable appetizers, entrees and desserts for as few as 10 to as many as 800 people.
“His expertise and creativity bring a wide selection of local, seasonal plates that satisfy a variety of palates, and his tenure brings consistency to our food quality,” said Lynnwood Convention Center General Manager Sara Blayne, CMP.
The year 2020 marks the 15-year anniversary for the convention center — a premier, full-service venue for conventions, trade shows, weddings, meetings and other events. In 2019, an estimated $25.3 million in economic impact was generated by the center. The 34,000-square-foot convention center offers a flexible meeting space with a grand hall that can accommodate 1,200 people. It also offers individualized meeting spaces with full onsite audiovisual and electrical support, and first class, five-star restaurant quality in-house catering.
The center has five seasonal menus – spring, summer, fall, winter and the holidays. There are also special menus for executive packages, celebrations, and weddings.
“Here at Lynnwood Convention Center, we do our best to delve into a number of different cuisines,” Felsenstein said. “Everything is fresh and made from scratch and we are able to present restaurant quality food.”
Lynnwood Convention Center Director of Food & Beverage Robert Sackett said Felsenstein is not only a remarkable and well-rounded chef, but also a culinary coach.
“Michael is not only a great chef, but also a great leader. His creativity is infectious, and he loves mentoring his staff in order to help them maintain and improve their skills in the culinary arts,” Sackett said. “His overall knowledge and passion for the culinary arts is the kind of passion we could all only strive for.”
During his professional career spanning across 30 years, Felsenstein has worked at five-star hotels, including The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans and The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, and four-star restaurants in Seattle and New York.
While Felsenstein is a seasoned culinary veteran, he said he still feels rewarded by a good challenge.
“Cooking vegetarian and vegan cuisine challenges me, in that it is thought-provoking food that you try to elevate, which is ultimately appreciated and that is most gratifying,” he said.
Prior to his current role at the Lynnwood Convention Center, Felsenstein was the executive Sous Chef at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly called Experience Music Project) in Seattle from 2000-2005.
Originally from Brooklyn, Felsenstein has lived in Seattle for 22 years and was classically trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY., which he graduated from in 1988. He also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University.
Other career highlights include being invited to be the guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House.
“From fundraising banquets to conferences, food plays a big part in bringing people together,” Blayne said. “Lynnwood Convention Center events most often involve food, and with that, Executive Chef, Michael Felsenstein has been a pillar of our success.”