“Food is Good” and that’s what propelled Mike Lata to move to Charleston SC and open his first restaurant with partner Adam Nemirow in 2003 which they aptly named FIG. While Mike would never admit it, his move to Charleston coupled with his unique ability to take the most basic ingredients and make them delicious, delightful and memorable created a food renaissance that has catapulted Charleston into the leading food destination in America.
Mike is unlike most famous chefs. He is self-taught, having honed his craft in kitchens from Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston. With his first restaurant, Mike wanted to do something extraordinary by focusing on ordinary ingredients and doing special things with them. Mike was the original “Farm to table” chef in Charleston where he has passionately led the effort to support local growers, fishermen and craftsmen.
FIG was an instant success and catapulted Mike onto the national stage. In 2007 and 2008 he was nominated for “James Beard Best Chef: Southeast,” In 2009, he won the award and became one of the first Southern chefs to be so recognized. His unique style, passion for supporting local farmers, fishermen and his outstanding food have landed him on the pages of Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. Mike is also a television celebrity having competed on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and was featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” Food Network show. He was profiled on Dateline’s “Platelist,” which described Mike’s food as “so good it will buckle your knees.”
FIG remains a Charleston favorite and continues to be named Charleston’s Best Place To Dine. In 2012 Mike and his partner decided to open a second restaurant, The Ordinary inside a restored bank building on upper King Street. The Ordinary is described as a classic oyster bar and seafood hall, but the food and the atmosphere are far from ordinary. The response has been fantastic and The James Beard Foundation nominated The Ordinary as Best New Restaurant in 2013, and GQ, Esquire and Bon Appétit named it in the top 20 best restaurants of the year.
As a chef, Mike certainly understands the importance of having premium cutlery at his disposal. Chris and Williams Knife Co. have collaborated with Mike on several knife concepts that Mike now uses in his kitchens and at home. We welcome Mike and all of his great accomplishments to the Williams Knife Family!