Michael Lewis serves as co-founder and executive chef of UKIAH Japanese Smokehouse. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Lewis moved to New York City at the age of 13 with the desire to succeed. After his time at the Culinary Institute of America, Lewis had the opportunity to train under culinary geniuses, including Chef David Bouley and Chef Eric Ripert. He made his mark on the industry by the time he was 25, playing an important role in earning three Michelin
Stars while working as the Chef de Cuisine at Jean-Georges’ restaurant on Central Park West.
Lewis went on to open Market for Jean-Georges in Paris, serve as Executive Chef at Café Martinique in the Bahamas, and launch Fifty on St. James Street in London. He then led the team at Zuma as the Global Executive chef for over six years, allowing him to practice his expertise internationally at the brand’s different locations, including Hong Kong, Dubai, Istanbul, Bangkok, London, and Miami. In Miami he helped shift the city’s food scene with his forward-
In 2016, Lewis partnered with fellow restaurateurs Steven Haigh and Lizzy Maynes to launch KYU Miami. The restaurant’s popularity earned its first James Beard Nomination in 2017 for Best New Restaurant. In 2020, he again partnered with Haigh and Maynes, alongside Michael Sponaugle and additional local partners, to open UKIAH, capturing the essence of Japanese street food alongside Lewis’s passion for American BBQ.