Michael Stamm didn’t take the typical route to
opening a catering business. Stamm won three medals in swimming in the
1972 Olympics in Munich and cooked for Middle Eastern royalty before
finally settling down in Orinda to start his Wildwood Catering business.
Q: What medals did you win in the 1972 games?
A: I got the silver in
the 100- and 200-meter backstrokes and gold in the 4x100-meter medley.
Mark Spitz swam butterfly, and I swam backstroke.
Q:How did you go from Olympic champ to caterer?
A: After the Olympics,
I was a lifeguard for a while, then I started working for a Saudi royal
prince in La Jolla. I was head valet and an assistant chef. I was able
to learn a lot about Middle Eastern cooking. We had to trick out
10-course dinners every night.
From there I went to San Francisco, to the California Culinary Academy,
then to work at Ernie’s at the St. Francis Yacht Club.
Q: What are your catering specialties?
A: I like to do dinner
parties in people’s homes, customized for each client. I make every
party unique and serve simple food—a fusion of Mediterranean and Asian
cuisine. Simple and healthy.
Q:Give us an easy recipe.
A: Take an Anaheim
chili, cut it lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff it
with some Italian sausage or some rendered chorizo, and then add some
shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. Press that into the chili
and then grill it until the outside of the chili is a little charred,
about 10 minutes. The filling will bubble and melt. Then, take a can of
roasted red bell peppers and some garlic and puree them with a little
salt and pepper. Put this sauce on a plate and place the chili on top
of the sauce. It’s a really simple appetizer, and you can use leftover
For information about Michael Stamm’s Wildwood Catering, call (925) 963-5443 or visit www.wildwoodcatering.com .