Aeillo works full time in the summer and about 30 hours a week during the school year. Despite his demanding work schedule, he earns mostly As in his classes. His work ethic will serve him well at school, said Aceves, who graduated from Culinary Institute of America.
"He hasn't even scratched the surface of what he'll learn and see at CIA," Aceves said. "We have limited resources and equipment here. The focus there will be on trends and gastronomy, as well as classic French cooking."
Aeillo grinned as Aceves described the curriculum.
When he has some down time, Aeillo watches or plays sports and enjoys reading, particularly books on architecture or culinary publications. He's working his way through Aceves' birthday present, a heavy tome titled "The Professional Chef."
"I've given people books before, but they seem to end up as paperweights," Aceves said. "Michael's actually reading his."
In the Bridge Road Bistro kitchen, Aeillo takes some good-natured ribbing for the high level of responsibility given to a young protégée. One server confided aside that he's unflappable even when the house is full and the orders are flying in.
"Sometimes he runs the whole line," she said.
"His enthusiasm and work ethic are fantastic. He does anything you ask of him," Aceves said. "He's capable of doing any station, but he's also very humble."
Aceves recently announced he's resigning from the Bistro in mid-February. His plans are not complete, but he will stay in the area and has every intention of keeping an eye on Aeillo.
The two teamed up for the first time as chef and sous chef last month when they headed a team in the Cast Iron Cook-off at the Charleston Town Center Marriott.
Aeillo capably directed team members to prepare two courses of the menu Aceves developed. His calm leadership in the timed competition impressed the adults he directed.
"The Cast Iron Cook-off was something I really wanted us to do together," Aceves said. "As a chef, your success is based not only on your own accomplishments, but on those who work under you. Michael is an example of my success here. We're very proud of Michael."
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.