Chef Michael Lewis

Co-Founder & Executive Chef

Michael Lewis serves as co-founder and executive chef of a Japanese Smokehouse, Ukiah restaurant located in downtown Asheville, offering guests a vibrant atmosphere, unparalleled service, and unique cuisine.

Originally from Baltimore, Md., 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. By the time Lewis was 25, he made his mark on the industry by 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 the Executive Chef at Café Martinique in the Bahamas and open up Fifty on St. James Street in London. He then led a 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, where he shifted the city’s food scene with his forward-thinking cuisine.

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” just one year after opening.

In 2020, he decided to focus on his newest unique concept in North Carolina. Partnering once more with Haigh and Maynes, alongside Michael Sponaugle and additional Asheville partners, the restaurant will be capturing the essence of Japanese street food, alongside Lewis’s passion of American BBQ.

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