Chef Michael Costa of Zaytinya - Biography

Washington, D.C.

September 2014

According to his mother, three-year-old Michael Costa was already bustling in the kitchen. But it wasn't until years later during college that he finally found his true calling: working in the kitchen professionally. Post college, when he moved to Texas to spend time with family, Costa enrolled in night classes at a local culinary school, the El Centro College in Dallas, merely out of curiosity. He then spent time training under the school's founder Costas Katsigris, a Greek native and a mentor, who inspired his love for Greek and Mediterranean flavors.

Next, he went to work for Chef Kent Rathbun at Abacus in Dallas. Costa then moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked as a private dining chef at Citronelle with James Beard Award winning chef Michel Richard before moving to the Michelin-starred Michel Rostang Restaurant in Paris for a six month apprenticeship. Once back in the States, he took an executive chef position at Pazo in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was nominated for "Chef of the Year" by the Maryland Restaurant Association in 2010. Currently at the helm at Zaytinya in Washington, D.C., under Chef José Andrés, he’s bringing together all his experience and travels, dishing out sleek and modern interpretations of Greek, Lebanese, and Turkish cuisines.