Compliments of the Chef with Michael Mina

Compliments of the Chef with Michael Mina

This week, Chefs Feed met up with renowned chef Mina at his restaurant in the Financial District.

December 6, 2013
CF: I'm best known for my _______ cooking but I can make one hell of a ________. 
MM: Bold yet balanced American; pizza in my woodstone wood-fired oven. 

CF: A few words your sous chef would use to describe you. 
MM: Intense, fair, and invested in the next generation. 

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant? 
MM: I'm most excited about breaking out of my comfort zone with food and learning how to cook authentic Japanese and Indian food at my new restaurants, Pabu (Baltimore, MD) and The Company (SF), respectively. 

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with? 
MM: I would love to spend time with Yoshihiro Murata, chef and owner of Kikunoi in Kyoto. The way he weaves flavors in and out of his kaiseki meals is amazing. His operation is first class and to eat there is a dream. I couldn't imagine spending a few days cooking with him. 

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for diners. 
MM: Always ask the servers what dishes the chef is most excited about or proud of when you are deciding what to order. 

CF: Message to professional food critics. 
MM: It's all about the guests, from your perspective as well as mine. Like Bob Dylan said, you've "gotta serve somebody." 

CF: Secret off-the-menu item that your guests can order tonight. 
MM: Anything vegan or gluten-free! We don't have specific menu items, but we can create personalized dishes based on our guest's dietary needs, tastes, etc. 

CF: One piece of advice for aspiring young chefs. 
MM: Never lose your childlike curiosity. Don't forget that it takes 10 years of working your fingers to the bone to be a chef, despite what TV and cooking schools tell you. Travel as often and as extensively as possible and taste everything; a well-developed palate is what separates the good from the great, and that's often underestimated these days. Take time to develop your palates. 

CF: What's for family meal tonight? 
MM: Duck confit with escarole, white beans, and chocolate chip-walnut cookies.