Mike Ventresca burst on the outdoors scene in January 2011 at the Chicago Outdoors Sport Show at Rosemont.
Billed by his nickname, “Chef Green Acres,” Ventresca wowed large audiences with his seminars on cooking game and fish and also his demonstrations in which he skinned and butchered a whitetail deer carcass live on the show’s stage.
Showgoers would actually walk right past seminars by Al Lindner and Kevin Van Dam to watch Mike whip up a batch of his bluegill lasagna. There was talk about a Chef Green Acres TV show and countless people promised to buy a cookbook if Mike wrote one. The guy was truly on a roll, and when he made his return to the seminar stages in 2012, people crammed the stands.
When the 2013 outdoors show schedule rolled around, Chef Green Acres was nowhere to be found. People were astounded that Mike wasn’t returning to the stage. Many wanted to know where Mike had disappeared to.
In late 2011, Mike fell ill. He was sore and achy and had a complete absence of energy.
He’s battling Lyme disease.