With a flair for culinary collaboration, American celebrity chef Michael Mina is inspired by innovative gastronomy and unwavering passion. As the recipient of many esteemed honours including the James Beard Award, Mina heads the San Francisco-based Mina Group, a powerhouse organization with nearly 30 noteworthy restaurants of varying concepts.
Mina recently participated in 2018’s 10th annual Cayman Cookout, a major Caribbean food and wine event that takes places every January at The Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman. Mina was one of several heavy-hitting culinary masters, including Dominique Crenn, Robert Irvine, and Emeril Lagasse (among many others) over a weekend of high-energy demos, galas, and beach bashes.
Despite a busy schedule, Mina took a few minutes to share some insights under The Ritz-Carlton’s palm trees. Undoubtedly, this was a rare moment of relaxation for him, as his company recently opened two new high-profile restaurants: Mina’s Fish House at the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina, and Cal Mare at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.
Mina’s Fish House on Oahu opened in December 2017. Can you share some highlights about menu?
It’s been amazing. The great thing about having a fish restaurant is that you can use the whole globe, because you don’t have to say it’s Italian, French, Japanese, or Korean—and that’s what always has really attracted me to having a seafood-focused restaurant. In Hawaii, it’s just mind-blowing because of the way the menu is laid out. We have really great composed dishes that have a big “wow” factor. Some of them are from my repertoire, classic dishes from all the way back in my Aqua days [his first restaurant in San Francisco], and some are new.