Considered one of the founders of Contemporary American cuisine as we know it and longtime chef/owner of the iconic mk Restaurant in Chicago, Michael Kornick serves as a model of lasting success and perseverance even through tough economic times. Not only has mk stood the test of time for decades, it has also been a training ground for numerous chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, managers and other restaurant staff who have gone on to win accolades and awards as well as open their own restaurants. Here’s what Kornick has to say about his own training ground and inspirational figures throughout his life and career.
FE&S: Who are some other people who have influenced your career most?
FE&S: What aspect of your career gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
Michael Kornick: Working with so many amazing people over the last 34 years and being able to learn from others and then teaching my craft to others.
FE&S: If you were not working in foodservice, what would you be doing?
Michael Kornick: Stand-up comedy
FE&S: Do you have any fun hobbies?
Michael Kornick: I am an avid wine collector and enthusiast, and a downhill skier. My wife Lisa and I also collect contemporary art, especially photography.
FE&S: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Michael Kornick: Operating a business (restaurant) specifically to pursue your art/craft and passion will not work any better than pursuing a business (restaurant) specifically to make money. Finding that balance is critical to long-term success.
FE&S: Knowing what you now know, would you still pursue a career in foodservice?
Michael Kornick: Yes, I love what I do. I am proud of the contribution I have made as well as the emotional and financial benefits I have received from our great industry.