Meet The Chefs: Mike Billheimer

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cooking With The Islands’ Stars is Sanibel Community Association’s newest and biggest event; a fun-filled evening of community-cooking, eating, competition, entertainment, and music!
It is also the chief fundraising event for SCA’s Renovation Campaign and the newly christened Culinary Education Center of Sanibel. For those that may not know, The Sanibel Community Association is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit, benefiting the communities of Sanibel and Captiva Island, FL. And now, with our Chef lineup for Cooking With The Islands’ Stars officially announced, we will be doing a series (Meet The Chefs) of biographical articles to help our audience better know each cook before the event.

Here is the third: Chef Michael Billheimer…

Most people know Michael Billheimer as the congenial owner and host of the Lighthouse Café, but few realize his Sanibel roots go way back. Mike’s great-great grandparents came to Sanibel many many years ago and although Mike himself grew up in the area, he moved around a bit to LA, San Francisco, Denver and NY before returning in 1988.

Mike fondly recalls the three room un-air-conditioned Sanibel School and getting his driver’s license so he could ‘burn gas’ driving from one end of the island to the other. Billheimer attended college at Edison and Florida International University in Miami, earning a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management. That led him to travel the country only to end up back at home 8 ½ years later.

Mike enjoys his customers and is happy his daughter and son both learned much working with him at the Lighthouse Café. The Community House holds fond memories for Mike who recalls playing Santa Claus in his fourth grade Christmas party and hosting several Chamber of Commerce Annual Meetings at the Community House as well.He is cooking a yucca and gorgonzola crusted fresh fish over a big salad. Sounds mouth-watering, Mike!