Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant in Charleston, SC, which he opened in 2003 with Partner Adam Nemirow. 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 “James Beard 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 & GunSouthern 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 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 has been consistently voted “Best Restaurant in Charleston” by Charleston City Paper readers and continues to be a favorite local destination.

Lata’s upcoming culinary adventures include a classic oyster bar and seafood hall—The Ordinary—in the heart of the Charleston’s Upper King Design District. A fall 2012 opening is planned.

When he’s not in the kitchen, Mike can be found hitting the links, riding his prized Ducati motorcycles, or enjoying life with his fiancé, Emilee, and their newborn son, Henry.