Michael Clifford is a Vero Beach native who began his culinary career under the watchful eye of British chef Bruce Turner, of Black Pearl Brasserie fame and currently The Tides. While mentoring with Bruce, Michael worked his way from busboy to bartender at Riverside Café (he had started in restaurants as a dishwasher at Grand Harbor when he was 16). Eventually Bruce let him into the kitchen, or “back of house,” and Michael found his passion for cooking.
In 2015 Michael returned to the front of house as bar manager at Aquarina Golf and Beach Club in Melbourne Beach. But the kitchen called when his partner was looking for a reliable chef to prepare healthy lunches and dinners for clients who were following her weight loss and healthy eating programs. As demand for the fabulous meals grew, Sealantro LLC was born. In addition to overseeing Sealantro’s weekly menu of healthy prepared meals, Michael is the executive chef at Sealantro at McKee Botanical Garden.
Michael loves to take clean, healthy food and add bold flavors with an Asian or Caribbean flair. “Healthy food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard,” he says. “I look to world cultures that have traditions of vegetarian fare because they tend to have the best flavors in plant based foods. Who wouldn’t want a little more spice in their life?”
When he is not cooking, Michael can most often be found fishing local waters. Having lived in the Vero Beach area all his life, Michael is committed to supporting local purveyors and sourcing straight from the farm whenever possible. Sealantro’s meats are from grass-fed animals raised on Florida farms; fruit and vegetables are from local farms when in season.
Michael lives in Vero Beach with the other British influence in his life, his partner Jayne, and their enormous cat Pongo.