Rising Star Chef Mike Minor of Border Grill Las Vegas - Biography

Las Vegas, NV

February 2011

2008 Las Vegas Rising Star Sustainability Chef Mike Minor likes to say that he learned how to cook “on the streets.” Minor started learning to cook as a child at the side of his Syrian grandmother, who, at 80, could still make a meal for the entire family without breaking a sweat. Minor worked his way up through kitchens, including those of Wolfgang Puck’s, Hard Rock Café, and then Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill, picking up techniques and education along the way. Minor is never one to rest on his laurels; he always goes out of his way to discover something new—including the regional cuisines of Oaxaca and Michuacan, Mexico, which he has spent years studying.

Minor’s introduction to environmental issues began when he was working for Peter Morton, co-founder of the Hard Rock Café empire, who instilled in Minor the virtues of caring for the planet. The sparks really began to fly when Minor was hired to run the kitchen of Border Grill by Milliken and Feniger. Not only did their cuisine lean heavily in the Latin direction, but they also provided Minor with the platform to take his keenness for environmental concerns to the next level. Milliken and Feniger charged Minor with creating a sustainable menu at the Las Vegas branch of Border Grill; Minor took it to heart. Since that time he has created a menu that is majority organic or natural and 100 percent sustainable for the sizeable seafood items.

Along the way, Minor found an invaluable asset on the subject of sustainable seafood in Rick Moonen of RM Seafood, another Mandalay Bay flagship restaurant and nationally recognized chef. Together the two have been pushing the sustainable seafood issue at the local Nevada chapter of Le Cordon Bleu, educating groups of 70 to 80 students at time to the issues surrounding our oceans’ fishstock. Additionally, Minor regularly takes students into his kitchen for hands-on experience; he makes an overt effort to educate his guests about his eco-conscious menu by visiting tables during service; he has spent the last several Thanksgivings cooking for the homeless.