Michael Mina’s story is one of two decades of influence, passion and achievement. Born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in Ellensburg, Wash., Michael has had a love affair with the kitchen, creating memorable dining experiences for guests from a very early age.
Michael’s epicurean journey began in 1987 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. At the start of his career, Michael and then Executive Chef of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles, George Morrone, were asked to develop a concept and create a menu for an upscale seafood restaurant in San Francisco. AQUA opened to rave reviews and national acclaim in 1991. Michael 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.
Michael’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 17 concept restaurants and a lounge concept including MICHAEL MINA, CLOCK BAR, RN74, BOURBON STEAK, ARCADIA, STONEHILL TAVERN, SEABLUE, STRIPSTEAK, AMERICAN FISH, SALTWATER and WIT & WISDOM.
chef de cuisine THOMAS GRIESE
Hailing from Lafayette, Indiana, Thomas Griese comes from a small town where meals were made with the freshest ingredients from family-owned farms. It was in his family’s kitchen where Thomas first learned to cook and realize food’s ability to bring people together. Throughout his culinary career, Griese has attributed his passion for cooking to the simplicity of the meals from his childhood, and continuing to seek out the highest-quality ingredients for his guests.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 2006, Griese worked his way through some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, learning from renowned chefs including Thomas Keller and Andre Rochat. Griese practiced classic French culinary techniques at Bouchon Las Vegas, Nevada and completed a stage apprenticeship at three-Michelin starred, The French Laundry in Yountville, California. Griese continued to hone his culinary skills in kitchens at award-winning restaurants in Las Vegas including celebrity chef André Rochat’s Andre’s, Alizé at The Palms Hotel, and Le Cirque Las Vegas at the Bellagio.
In 2011, Griese moved to Miami to work at The Setai Miami Beach, a five-star luxury resort where he cooked for a variety of celebrity guests and globetrotters. Griese was quickly promoted to Chef de Cuisine, taking on various responsibilities, including menu development for the resort’s steakhouse and poolside restaurant as well as overseeing a large staff.
As the Chef de Cuisine of Michael Mina 74, Griese is thrilled to work side-by-side with Michael Mina on the sophisticated bistro-style menu focused on balanced flavors complementing the high-energy rhythm of Miami. Embracing South Florida, Griese will strive to ingrain the restaurant in the local community by better utilizing regional farms, fostering relationships with purveyors and incorporating local product into the globally-inspired menu. Griese will help Michael Mina 74 achieve consistent growth and improvement, lead and inspire the culinary team and solidify the restaurant as one of top dining destinations Miami has to offer.