Michael Koenig

Restaurant: Latitude 41

Hometown: Saginaw, Mich.

Background: With nearly 20 years of involvement in the restaurant industry, I am no stranger to the kitchen. Food was a very large part of my life growing up. My mother is of Lebanese descent and food is central to family life. My cooking led me to the West Coast nearly two decades ago, spending most of my time in the Bay Area. Much of my culinary career has centered on Italian and upscale cuisines.

Most memorable kitchen experience: Making dolmas – grape leaves rolled with beef, rice and pine nuts – with my mom and aunts when I was little. It made me appreciate the smell and taste of natural food. I learned from a very early age to appreciate the simplicity of a few, perfect ingredients and to let the food speak for itself.

Best thing about the Columbus dining scene: It’s a place where people are not afraid of bacon.

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