Hi! I’m Michael Wards

Executive Chef and Founder of The Austin Artisan

I passionately believe private chef catering should be just as much about the food as it is about the experience. That’s why we create interactive events that educate and entertain guests while serving delectable meals that always surprise and delight.

As far as I’m concerned, food is so much more than fuel. It’s the gateway to our most cherished life experiences.

One bite of a crisp and smoky hatch green chile from New Mexico is so much more than a little heat in my mouth…it instantly transports me to El Paso. I’m a young boy enjoying the company of my grandparents and a mouthwatering meal under the hot summer sun…and life is just…good.

As the years passed, the impact of family dinners became more and more apparent to me. I learned that what starts at the dining room table, impacts every neighborhood. And what happens in neighborhoods, impacts cities…states…countries…the world.

Contrary to what you might expect, I did not go to culinary school immediately after high school. I actually earned a degree in marketing and intended to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I spent 10 years working my way up the corporate ladder. But in 2009, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Over the course of my 9-month long treatment, I did a lot of soul searching. Shortly after completing treatment, I decided to reinvent myself and enrolled in culinary school.

Michael Wards, a Personal Chef in Austin Laughing while Preparing Salad in Home Kitchen

I honed my cooking skills in Austin’s great kitchens like Second Bar + Kitchen, The Driskill Hotel, and 2 Dine 4 Catering.

Along the way, I cultivated a passion for sustainable, local, and seasonal food. I even harvested my own herb garden so that I could more easily experiment with new herb-infused recipes as I reinvented classic dishes.

Food is powerful. It’s the vehicle that brings families together at the table every night and silences the noise of the outside world. Food is the center of every celebration. It’s an homage to family history. And for me, it also symbolizes hope, healing and the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

I’ve been cooking since I was a teen. My parents both worked long hours and I was the oldest of four children, so the responsibility to prepare dinner for the family often fell on me. I can’t say I actually enjoyed that job as a teenager, but I most certainly enjoyed the fruit of my labor; as the meals I made were the catalyst for bringing my very busy family together every night.

Personalized Catering Experience I The Austin Artisan Three Plated Catering Dishes on Bamboo Plates with Green Garnish
Chiles en nogada


The Austin Artisan was born in 2013. Rooted in the core philosophy that taste and memories are inextricably bound—evoking emotions and creating unforgettable experiences—we’re different from cookie-cutter, feed-the-masses catering companies.

Our Austin, Texas personal chefs focus on smaller gatherings of less than 30 people, which provide the opportunity to craft plated, multi-course, progressive dinners or even custom cocktail parties. From molecular gastronomy to infused oils, my team and I offer a true upscale dining and chef experience that is absolutely unforgettable.

Girls' Events I The Austin Artisan Chef Michael Wards Standing at Table with Group of Girls He's Preparing a Personal Dinner For
Prepared Meals I The Austin Artisan Chef Michael Wards Garnishing Salad with Cauliflower


We offer in-home personal chef and private catering services for dinner parties, corporate events, girls’ nights, and just about any other event you can dream up where private catering will take it over the top! In addition, we provide personal chef and prepared meal delivery services that eliminate the stress of planning, cooking, and serving meals that meet your personal preferences and dietary needs.

We are committed to supporting local, sustainable vendors and using the freshest seasonal ingredients for healthier, tastier meals. We’re also devoted to what we call, the personalized catering experience, a high-energy, interactive social event that Austin residents consistently rave about.

Schedule a call with a private catering specialist to talk about your next event and see why we’re the best choice for luxury catering in Downtown and Old West Austin, Tarrytown, Westlake Hills, and the surrounding area.