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The Boy Wonder-Chef -Michael Mina


During his growing up years, his mom always overcooked his salmon. Upon chance when he really tasted a real good salmon, he relished, the true taste of freshness, simplicity and flavor of his fish and knew at once that this was what he wanted to do; cook simple, yet creatively exquisite and bold dishes (read sea food) with intense flavor that can enliven a person’s evening.

Chasing his dream, he worked in a small French Restaurant in an important role of a Garde Manger at a young age of 15. He went across the nation to formalize his culinary training. All of 19, he joined the Culinary Institute of America in New York, spending the 17-18 hours of the next 18 months honing his culinary skills in Charlie Palmer's kitchen in Manhattan at the famous Aureole.

Determination, hard work and the instinct to follow his dreams paid off for Mina as he finally made his move to his dream city San Francisco. Soon he was training kitchen staff and refining the menu as Aqua's Chef de Cuisine, introducing the concept of seafood that was high standard in food quality and service.

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Years have passed since and he is now a partner in the restaurant’s parent company. His diners have trusted his adventurous seafood experiments and returned to find upgraded menu with the multi faceted bounty of the oceans like fresh eel and sea urchins. He turns them into unique and inventive seafood delicacies. Mina is known for his slow poaching method of cooking and the "trio" concept- using one luxurious ingredient (such as jackfish, foie gras, rabbit, pork) prepared three different ways. Each is specially presented on a custom made plate.

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Mina in partnership with Andre Agassi has opened concept restaurants across country such as Nobhill and Seablue in Las Vegas and New Jersey and Bourbon Steak and Washington DC, featuring his award winning butter-poached meat and poultry and classic seafood dishes. His flagship restaurant, Michael Mina, was awarded two Michelin stars, one of only four restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.

His Success Mantra: Learn as much as you can while cooking from every person that you can get information from. Mix all together, season with your own cooking style and techniques to get a steaming hot and fresh cooking technique.

His style: Keep everything clean, simple and classic. Use exciting flavors, styles and presentations; try a little different something that is bound to tempt taste buds.

His favorite fish on the menu: Black cod or butterfish, a really fatty fish. Do a miso and a saki marinade on it and then broil to get a nice big flaky fish and is served with hot and sour shrimp spring rolls and a green scallion sauce.

For recipes go to:

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