From Istanbul to Hong Kong, Paris to Dubai, London to Bangkok, Chef Michael Lewis has spent decades gathering experience, lessons, and knowledge from the world's most exciting culinary centers. But it all started at home, in the good old United States.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Lewis immediately began intense, on-the-ground training with David Bouley at Bouley and Bouley Bakery and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, where he built on the classical cooking techniques he'd developed in school. He was only 25 when he was elevated to Chef de Cuisine at Jean-Georges, one of just a few American restaurants boasting three Michelin stars at that time. "I learned the business side of running a restaurant from Jean-Georges," Lewis says, by helping the chef open several restaurants, including locations in Paris and the Bahamas.
But Lewis has learned just as much from his international travels as he has from his technical education and brilliant mentors. "I have spent over 10 years trying to travel as much as possible — seeing, tasting and experiencing everything from the cheapest street food in Asia to the prix fixe menus of molecular geniuses in Europe,” explains Lewis. “I thrive off of these types of food and life experiences, and the unforgettable stories that come out of them.”
As co-founder and executive chef at KYU in Miami, Lewis has given free rein not only to his creativity, but also all that he's gleaned from his years of globetrotting. Strong flavors like garlic and chile play nicely with refined French cooking techniques, while wood-fired Asian dishes get a surprising touch of elegance from delicate micro greens. His inventive, incredibly delicious dishes for Panna, from deep-fried kale leaves to red snapper basted with an indulgent miso brown butter, are unlike anything you've ever tried before—and have to be tasted to be believed.