Q&A With Chef Michael Mina


Our pals over at Good Bite have an interview with Egyptian-born celeb chef Michael Mina, who reveals plans to expand his 18-eateries-and-growing empire, talks some smack about NYC (kinda not really), and offers some advice for all you budding restaurant titans.

You have an incredible empire of restaurants and seem to always be working on a new project. What’s next?
I just signed a lease in San Francisco at 252 California Street (Aqua) – where I started my career!  I don’t have a plan for the space yet, but when it became available, I knew I had to have it!

Why have you chosen to not open a place in NYC? Is this something you would consider in the future?
I love New York City and the food culture there.  Guests dining at New York restaurants like to see their chefs in the kitchen. I’ve chosen not to open a restaurant there because I know I wouldn’t be able to dedicate the time in the restaurant that I would want to.

How did you learn to cook?
My mother is an incredible cook (many of the recipes in my restaurants are hers!). My first introduction into a restaurant kitchen was at the age of 15 when I did a work study program in high school.  I worked front of house in a small, family-owned French restaurant in my hometown. I fell in love with everything restaurant and within a year I was managing the entire restaurant for the family. My passion ended up being in the kitchen.

What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to open a restaurant in this economy?
Do your homework, study the market, create a sound plan around your restaurant that brings something to that neighborhood/city/location that diners can’t get anywhere else.

What are your thoughts on In-N-Out Burger?

Read the rest over at Good Bite.