Michael Baxley is the executive chef at Rookery Pub Fine Dining. He originally was hired as sous chef several months after the restaurant opened in 2008, and was promoted to head chef the following summer.
Mike is a local boy. He grew up splitting time as a child between Texas and the Wisconsin Northwoods, where he graduated from Drummond High School in 2004. Mike began his culinary journey at the tender age of 12 when he began cooking burgers and steaks at his mom’s tavern, perched atop a stool in order to reach the grill. In his teens and early 20s he furthered his skills under talented chefs at places like Telemark Lodge and the Chequamegon Hotel in Ashland. When appreciative guests inquire about his culinary education, Mike likes to respond that he attended the School of OJT (on-the-job-training).
And the fact is that Mike’s real strength isn’t easily taught. He’s an artist at heart, whose chosen canvas and passion happens to be food. Chefs with his talents are rare, and especially so in the Wisconsin Northwoods. Yet while Mike certainly could be successful in a big city culinary career, he prefers to live here. He is happy to have found a unique venue like the Rookery to ply his craft, and the Rookery is fortunate to have found him.