Owner of the renowned Michy’s Restaurant, and prominent television personality, Michelle Bernstein '94, '03 Hon. rose to culinary stardom shortly after her graduation from the North Miami Campus, working in the kitchens of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami.
After a nationwide search, the hotel selected the young chef, a South Florida native, to take the helm at Azul, the hotel's 120-seat fine dining restaurant. Detail-oriented and passionate about her cuisine, Bernstein created a menu for Azul that blended the Latin flavors of her childhood with Asian, Caribbean, and French influences.
Bernstein quickly rose to stardom. For two years, she co-hosted the Food Network's "Melting Pot," a show that presented the traditions, stories and recipes of her Latin background. She was also a competitor and winner on the Food Network’s "Iron Chef America" series. She has appeared numerous times on "The Today Show," preparing her signature dishes alongside Matt Lauer and Al Roker. She has been featured in both The New York Times and Bon Appétit, as well as in Elle, Redbook, Gourmet and Food & Wine.
The 2008 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Southern Region, Bernstein's restaurant empire includes Michy’s and her latest venture, Crumb on Parchment.
In addition, she recently established the South Florida chapter of Common Threads, a national nonprofit cooking and nutrition program for underserved children. She is a consulting chef for Delta Airlines and Lean Cuisine; a regular guest on the Home Shopping Network with her own line of products; and a repeat visitor at the judging table on Bravo TV's "Top Chef." In 2008, she released her first cookbook, "Cuisine á Latina: Fresh Tastes and a World of Flavors from Michy’s Miami Kitchen." She also hosts an Emmy-nominated PBS series, "Check Please," now in its 5th year.
Michelle is regularly involved with her alma mater, often conducting clinics and speaking engagements at the North Miami Campus. She tells students, "Keep your head down, keep your passion huge, be true to yourself and the ingredients, and most importantly, don’t force anything — the food feels it."