Michael Chanthavong is the Executive Chef of Mizu and a veteran employee of Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Originally from Rochester, New York, Michael’s interest in cooking was sparked at an early age as he watched and learned foundational southeast Asian cooking techniques from his parents, restaurant owners and immigrants of Laos. As he began to share their passion and interest, he also made a conscious effort to diverse his expertise in the kitchen by spending time with friends of different ethnic backgrounds.
After working at his parents’ restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Michael moved to Charlotte in 2004 to begin working at Phillips’ Seafood within the airport. At the age of 18, he began to absorb as much as he could about cooking, working at nationally recognized restaurants such as McCormicks & Schmick’s. In 2016 Michael joined the Indigo Road team to help lead the opening for O-Ku Charlotte. From there, Michael expanded his skillset as he led the menu development for O-Ku Atlanta and Charlotte, as well as the fast-casual sister concept, Sukoshi.
At Mizu, Michael is grateful for having the space and platform for his team to be creative and collaborative on dishes throughout the menu. He takes a modern and artisanal approach to the seafood-focused menu, which is heavily influenced by the wood-fired Robata grills of Japan. He is most excited to see the concept come to fruition, with its beautifully designed rooftop and interior space providing guests with a memorable dining experience.
In his free time, Michael enjoys golfing at Charlotte’s many golf courses, fishing, and spending time with his family. He firmly believes “great food tends to come with great company.”