Michelle Mah

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Michelle Mah is the current chef de cuisine for The Slanted Door in San Francisco, California. She has held executive chef positions at prominent San Francisco restaurants with featured recipes.[1][2]


Michelle Mah was born in 1975 Seoul, Korea. Mah spend her childhood in Korea until her family immigrated to Southern California at the age of three.[3] Both her mother and grandmother were cooks, and her father also cooked Korean dishes at home.[4] Before advancing her culinary education, Mah graduated from the University of California in San Diego in 1997 with a Bachelor's degree in Ethnic Studies and a minor in General Literature.[5]

Mah’s culinary experience began at Café Japengo in San Diego with guidance from chef Amiko Gubbins. She enrolled in the College of Food in San Diego where she graduated with an Associate degree in Occupational Studies, and furthered her education at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.[6] Mah’s experience in San Francisco kitchens began at Moose’s as a pantry cook, and later completed her externship from CCA at the Turtle Bay Resort in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.[citation needed] Upon returning to California, Mah cooked alongside Paul Arenstam at Belon as a sous chef, as well as Grand Cafe in San Francisco.[7]

In 2005 Mah stepped in to captain Kimpton's Ponzu restaurant and was named one of San Francisco Chronicle's "Rising Star Chefs" of 2006 along with Corey Lee of French Laundry and Mike Yakura of Le Colonial.[5] Ponzu is a restaurant which serves upscale Asian cuisine and Mah served as the executive chef and the pastry chef.[8][9] Mah told Nation's Restaurant News that she studied and researched different recipes before she felt comfortable developing her own vision for Ponzu which incorporated some Korean cuisine.[4] The Today Show described her approach to Asian cuisine as "Asia without a map."[10]

In 2008, she left Ponzu to join Midi restaurant which opened in the Galleria Park Hotel in San Francisco, where she worked as the executive chef.[11][12][13] The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Mah's recipes at the restaurant, this time based on European cuisine, "creates a fantasy voyage."[14] In 2010, Mah left Midi, hoping to start working at an independent or her own restaurant.[15]

Mah started working at the Brixton in 2010.[16] In 2011, Mah joined Charles Phan’s Slanted Door Group to head up Wo Hing’s General Store,[17] a Southern Chinese street food inspired restaurant. In 2012, she transferred over to The Slanted Door, where she heads the kitchen.

Mah was part of an event in coordination with the Asian Art Museum when the "meat shaped stone" was on display in 2016. Chefs, including Mah, created unique pork-belly recipes at their restaurants.[18]



  1. ^ Michelle Mah About.com
  2. ^ "Chef Michelle Mah The Slanted Door San Francisco". Chefsfeed. 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Quick Pasta and Salad Dinner". ABC7 News. July 1, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Berta, Dina (19 March 2007). "Michelle Mah adds a modern twist to tradition at Ponzu". Nation's Restaurant News. 41 (12). p. 40. Retrieved 5 July 2017 – via EBSCOhost. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ a b c Morgan, Miriam (29 January 2006). "RISING STARS 2006 / Michelle Mah". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  6. ^ "Joie de Vivre Restaurants". Joie of Life. September 2, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Under the Toque: Michelle Mah adds a modern twist to tradition at Ponzu". Nation's Restaurant News. March 19, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  8. ^ Shea, Erin J. (1 October 2006). "Tempting Teacups". Restaurants & Institutions. Retrieved 5 July 2017 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). [dead link]
  9. ^ Gold, Amanda (7 March 2007). "RISING STAR CHEFS 2007 / Where are they now?". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  10. ^ Lempert, Phil (31 May 2006). "East meets West (coast) with a short ribs dish". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  11. ^ "The Inside Scoop: San Francisco's Cortez, Pescheria sold; Perry's closes". SFGate. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  12. ^ Wandell, Deb (22 March 2009). "Opening: Midi in San Francisco". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  13. ^ "Wo Hing General Store ceremoniously opens on Valencia". Inside Scoop SF. 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  14. ^ Bauer, Michael (14 June 2009). "Rising star Michelle Mah alights at Midi". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  15. ^ Lucchesi, Paolo (2010-09-29). "Joie de Vivre takes Midi in a new direction; Mah out". Inside Scoop SF. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  16. ^ Lucchesi, Paolo (2010-11-18). "The Brixton lands a pair of Midi vets: Chefs Michelle Mah and Jon Hara". Inside Scoop SF. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  17. ^ Lucchesi, Paolo (2012-02-29). "Rising Star Chefs: Class of 2006". Inside Scoop SF. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  18. ^ Cascone, Sarah (2016-06-15). "Taipei's Fabulous Meat-Shaped Stone - artnet News". artnet News. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 

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