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Michael Junker
Sandy High graduate comes home as the new chef at Mallardís posted on 01/01/2020

For foodies craving heaping helpings of comfort classics that give a serious nod to nostalgia, Michael Junker is the chef for you. Growing up in Sandy and as a graduate of Sandy High School, Junker has "come home" as the new chef at Mallards at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort.

"Everyone will enjoy the variety of menu items as well as quality and presentation," Junker said. "My vision is to make this the destination meal that you will never forget and beg for more, and I won't quit until I can make that happen."

The new menu is a gastronomic gallery of delights, including smoked brisket, a Thursday night special, seared bratwurst, Stanford ribs, bone-in/bone out wings, halibut fish and chips and a large assortment of burgers, including a black bean vegetarian burger, all served with fries or salad. A notable variety of sandwiches, salads, soups and an impressive selection of rice bowls are also featured, along with an all-new happy hour menu with pub favorites like tacos, nachos, sliders and quesadillas to tickle your taste buds.

Children's culinary favorites such as chicken bites, mac ‘n' cheese, grilled cheese, burgers and pizza are offered for those 12 and under.

And those hankering for tasty tacos can head on over to Mallards for Taco Tuesdays. Away from the bustle of a busy restaurant kitchen, Junker's favorite dish to cook at home are tacos. He explained that everyone who knows him, knows he is all about tacos.

Junker's inspiration to cook started as a child when visiting his grandparents, Don and Sally Junker. His grandfather would take him to the batting cages, while his grandmother prepared dinner.

"I can remember the smell of that house when we would walk in and I would instantly go to the kitchen and watch and want to help her cook," Junker said.

He added that cooking was his "place of peace," and he received nothing but positive feedback and encouragement and knew this was the career path he was meant to follow.

"Love what you do and you don't work a day in my life," he said.

"I spent the past 10 years living in many places in the South, such as Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Arizona," Junker said. "This is where I picked up a lot of knowledge and real passion for this career."

But Junker attributes his time under Chef Don at the Arizona Downs horse racing track in Prescott Valley as the person who took him under his wing and turned Junker into the chef he is today.

"It was a sink or swim mentality with him which made me learn a lot in a short period of time," Junker said.

Junker loves working at the resort, citing the views and the beauty of the mountain he gets to see every day, and in his spare time, he plays country music, fishes, spends time with his family and friends and his two dogs Bane and Gizmo.

"I have some of the best cooks, servers and bartenders on my staff that I can say I am very proud to have part of my team," Junker said. "I urge y'all to come out and enjoy the new menus as well as all our new daily events. I take much pride in what we are doing to make Altitude and Mallards Pub the destination dining experience on the mountain. I look forward to seeing and meeting everyone."

Mallards is located at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, 68010 East Fairway Ave. in Welches. For more information, visit mthood-resort.com or call 503-622-3101.

By Frances Berteau/MT

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