Born in Cairo, Egypt, and raised in Ellensburg, Washington, Chef Michael Mina has enjoyed a love affair with the kitchen, creating memorable dining experiences for guests from a very early age.
Chef Mina’s epicurean journey began in 1987 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. During those 18 months of formal schooling, he spent his weekends sharpening his natural talents with hands-on experience in Charlie Palmer’s kitchen at the upscale Aureole in New York City.
At the start of his career, Chef Mina was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime with then-executive chef of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles, Chef George Morrone. The two were asked to develop a concept and create a menu for an upscale seafood restaurant in San Francisco – the city Chef Mina had dreamed of calling home one day.
Welcomed to San Francisco by a major earthquake his second day in the city, he was unfazed and went to work immediately under Chef George’s direction. Chef Mina dedicated himself to creating a complete dining experience – training the entire kitchen staff personally and refining the menu as chef de cuisine. AQUA opened to rave reviews and national acclaim in 1991. Chef Mina served as AQUA’s executive chef from 1993 to 2002, where he was awarded Rising Star Chef of the Year in 1997 and Best California Chef in 2002 by the James Beard Foundation.
Chef Mina’s culinary and business vision led to the founding of his company, MINA Group, with partner Andre Agassi in 2002. Under the auspices of MINA Group, he has opened over 45 operations around the world, including the Michelin-starred MICHAEL MINA, Chef Mina’s flagship restaurant in the heart of San Francisco, which represents the culmination of his core culinary philosophies, Middle Eastern heritage, lauded chronicles as a chef and restaurateur, and personal character.
Honored with numerous accolades, including a Michelin star at MICHAEL MINA from 2012 to 2018, James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage” inductee in 2013, Gayot Restaurateur of the Year 2011, Bon Appétit Chef of the Year 2005, and many more, Chef Mina continues to dazzle the culinary world with bold dining concepts.
Chef Mina has been featured in such national media as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Newsweek, TIME, Robb Report, Travel + Leisure, Wine Spectator, in addition to the Food Network, the CBS Early Show, the NBC Today Show and Fox’s syndicated “Good Day Live.” He has been a featured guest chef at the James Beard House numerous times and cooked for three U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.