Michael Mina Takes Atlantic City

Award-winning chef Michael Mina was in Atlantic City last week for the Savor Borgata Event where he cooked for an amazing 700 people (and I thought Thanksgiving was stressful!); just another day in the office for this legendary chef.

For the event, Mina cooked up a delicious Nantucket bay scallop ceviche with horseradish panna cotta and tomato gelee along with a butter-poached lobster with sweet-potato crepe and coconut curry broth. Yes, a butter-poached lobster; I don’t think it gets much better than that, does it?

While not a big gambler himself, Mina does have many restaurants in casinos and says “I don’t gamble at all. I enjoy it, but I would end up writing my restaurants a check every month!” When asked to discuss what the biggest gamble he has taken in his career, Mina said “Probably when I left Aqua in San Francisco and ventured out on my own to open Michal Mina. I put a lot of money and time in the establishment, and that was a big gamble. Thankfully, it worked out.” And then some.

While Mina owns 17 successful restaurants across the country, unlike many other big-time chefs, he currently has none in New York City. Mina attributes this to a few reasons, saying that “I enjoy New York too much; my best friend lives there, and when I go I really enjoy myself. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I opened a restaurant there, but it would be different and I would feel a lot more pressure. Plus, there are just so many big chefs in New York, so if I’m going to open there I will have to put in an enormous amount of effort.” He also notes that since he has two young boys, the timing just isn’t right for him to put the required energy and effort into what it would take to be successful in New York.

Mina is planning to open American Fish in Las Vegas’ City Center in early 2010. He says, ‘I did a walkthrough of the building last week and it is beautiful, really spectacularly designed. I have a lot to live up to there.” We’re banking on him doing just fine, and when the time is right, it’s likely that New York will welcome the super chef with open arms.

Via: Zagat Buzz