Born and raised in New Orleans, Michael Gulotta began cooking in local restaurants at age 17. After graduating from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, he joined the newly opened Restaurant August under Chef John Besh. Gulotta then took leave to train in the Italian Riviera and Germany’s Black Forest. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Michael returned home to help rebuild and assist with August’s re-opening. He was named chef de cuisine in 2007 and led the award-winning kitchen for six years, while establishing relationships with local farmers and purveyors. He opened his first restaurant, MOPHO, in January of 2014 with his brother, Jeffrey Gulotta, and high-school friend, Jeffrey Bybee. Located in New Orleans’ Mid City, MOPHO strives to be a true neighborhood restaurant and a destination for Southeast Asian inspired cuisine utilizing the Louisiana pantry. In its first year, MOPHO was nominated for America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit and named Restaurant of the Year by New Orleans Magazine. In 2016, Michael was named one of Top 30 Chefs to Watch in the nation by Plate, a New Orleans Rising Star by StarChefs, and a 2016 Best New Chef by Food & Wine. His team recently opened its second full-service restaurant, Maypop, in the Central Business District of New Orleans, where he serves an expanded menu of Southeast Asian-inspired dishes with regional touches.