Growing up in an Italian family, Michael Palombo’s love and respect of food started early in life. At the age of 15, he started making pizzas at his local pizzeria. After deciding he wanted to have a career in the restaurant industry, he moved to Washington D.C., enrolled at The Culinary School of Washington D.C., and began working at the Marriott Hotel in their management training program. During this period, he also studied at the famous Ecole Le Notre in Paris, perfecting his baking skills. After graduating with his culinary degree, he was selected to help open the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center as Executive Sous Chef and was promoted to Executive Chef within 3 years.
In 1995, he became Executive Chef at the historic Carolina Inn at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and helped the restaurant to earn the AAA Four Diamond distinction. In 1998 Michael moved to Boston with Hilton Hotels to open the University Park Hotel at MIT. His last position working in the kitchen was at The Mount Washington Hotel & Resort in New Hampshire, where he presided as Executive Chef with responsibility for 7 kitchens and 200 employees. Throughout his culinary career, he also competed and traveled around the world as a professional ice sculptor.
After 25 years in the kitchen, he decided to change career directions and became a sales manager for RATIONAL Cooking Systems. This led to his decision to start his own company, Illinois Culinary Equipment (ICE) , as a manufacturers’ representative. Beginning with Electrolux Professional Commercial Equipment, he has continued to add additional manufacturers in order to provide a full suite of culinary products for his clients. Michael’s passion for food and cooking, along with his highly personalized client service, has allowed him to create his dream career.
Grant is a manufacturer's sales representative that works with Illinois Culinary Equipment (I.C.E.) to provide information, knowledge and training regarding the commercial food service equipment I.C.E. represents.
Grant believes that hard work, dedication and a commitment to being there no matter what creates successful partnerships. He believes I.C.E.'s work provides value by supplying product information, decision making support and end user training.
Grant worked as a commercial restaurant & bar equipment dealer/designer for over 2 years. During this time he helped design restaurants and bars in Chicago for large restaurant groups, James Beard award recipients and Eater Chicago hot list establishments.
Grant has experience working with the best restaurant industry architects, chefs, designers, engineers, and restaurateurs.
Grant holds many manufacturer certifications regarding product knowledge and has a true love and passion for the food service industry. I enjoy nothing more than dining out at the fantastic restaurants around Chicago!
Grant A. Johnson