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Raised in what he fondly describes as a "party-loving Greek family," Michael grew up helping his father spit-roast whole lambs on the giant BBQ in their Long Island backyard. True to his dad's wish, he earned an accounting degree, but a stint as a waiter sparked the dream of running a restaurant. Two years after Michael bought out the owners of a local place where he worked and cut his teeth on all aspects of management, his chef didn't show up on a booked-solid night. Michael stepped behind the stove and never looked back. Now the proud owner of five New York metro area hot spots, he still relishes whipping up traditional favorites for his loved ones, like this lemony vinaigrette -- traditionally paired with chicken or fish, but Michael loves it with grilled lamb chops in springtime.
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dry Greek oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Makes about 1 cup. Recipe may be doubled so that there's extra ladolemono for dipping.
Originally published in the April 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.