Mike Lata is Chef/Co-Owner of FIG and The Ordinary in Charleston, SC. He took home the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2009 and was a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef in 2017 and 2018. The restaurants have also received their own accolades: FIG won JBF Outstanding Wine Program in 2018 and was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant in 2019 and 2020. The Ordinary was a JBF finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2013.
Additionally GQ and Esquire named The Ordinary one of the top new restaurants of 2013. A native of Western Massachusetts, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, New Orleans, Atlanta, and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. He is a hands-on, self-taught chef who is relentless in his pursuit of the freshest products, which constantly inspire and define his work. Mike’s mission is to create bright, satisfying food that is both uncomplicated and elegant, all the while paying respect to the efforts and traditions of his family of purveyors and the Lowcountry. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers and fishermen has cemented his position as a champion of Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance.
Mike’s food, philosophy, and contributions to the Charleston community have earned him recognition on a national platform, including coverage in The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. He has been featured in several television appearances, including Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” Bravo’s Top Chef, PBS’s Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, The Today Show, and ABC’s “Nightline Platelist,” which described his food as “so good it will buckle your knees.”