Craig Lee/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis
As an accomplished chef who has received numerous awards and nominations throughout his career, Michael Mina has combined his love for seafood and Mediterranean food to create a wide network of restaurants across the United States.
Mina was born in Cairo and raised in Ellensburg, Washington. He started in the kitchen when he was still young and has said that, despite years in the kitchen, he still loves his craft and is just as "intrigued with the process", as he was when he was a teenager. He went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and got experience working in Charlie Palmer’s Aureole in New York City. His first job working in the Bel Air Hotel led to his first big break when he followed George Morrone, the then Executive Chef of the Hotel, to San Francisco where he helped opened Aqua in 1991, acting as the chef de cuisine. Mina was the Executive Chef of Aqua from 1993 – 2002.
In 2002, Mina founded Mina Group with business partner Andre Agassi and has since opened 18 concept restaurants and a lounge concept. Mina released his first cookbook, Michael Mina: The Cookbook in November of 2006.
In 2011, Mina completely redesigned Aqua from the ground up and created Michael Mina. The restaurant encapsulates all that was and still remains unique about Aqua, however, it has been reconstructed to bring about it's own "magical" presence as Mina would call it.
Culinary Style: Mediterranean
Restaurants: American Fish, Arcadia, Bourbon Steak (Miami, Scottsdale, San Francisco, Washington D.C.), Clock Bar, Michael Mina (Las Vegas, San Francisco), Pabu, RN74, The Handle Bar, Pub 1842, Wit & Wisdom, Seablue (Atlantic City, Las Vegas), Stonehill Tavern, Stripsteak
DID YOU KNOW?
Michael Mina’s first job in the culinary world was as a Garde Manger in a small French restaurant in his hometown when he was 15 years-old.