Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant in Charleston, SC, which he opened in 2003 with Partner Adam Nemirow. In December 2012, Lata and Nemirow opened The Ordinary, a classic oyster bar and seafood hall in Charleston’s Upper King district, to much local and national acclaim. The James Beard Foundation nominated The Ordinary as Best New Restaurant in 2013, and GQ and Esquire also named it one of the best restaurants of the year. FIG has also consistently been voted “Best Restaurant in Charleston” by Charleston City Paper readers.
A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. Mike is a hands-on, self-taught chef who continues to delight making the most basic things delicious, creating food that is bright, uncomplicated and understated. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers, fishermen and purveyors has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance. Mike is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, co-founder of the Charleston Slow Food convivium, and the Official Charleston Representative for the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Nominated in 2007 and 2008 for the James Beard Foundation Award, Best Chef: Southeast, Mike took home the award in 2009. His food, philosophy, and contributions to the Charleston community have earned him recognition on national platform, including coverage in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. Mike competed on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and was featured on the same network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”