Michael Gulotta

Restaurateur of the Year

Taking risks has paid off for chef Michael Gulotta. After devoting six years working his way up the ladder with the Besh Group, Gulotta left his position as executive chef of Restaurant August in 2014 to open MoPho in Mid-City near City Park. It was a daring move at the time, when the neighborhood had yet to become the dining destination it is today.

MoPho has since cemented its place in the local dining scene with its creative fusion of Vietnamese and New Orleans cuisine. Gulotta is not to be pigeon-holed, however. In 2016 he opened not one, but two restaurants — joining the team at Tréo this year to open TANA, which celebrates New Orleans’ Italian and Creole heritage, and opening MayPop this year. Named after a variety of passionflowers, the Southeast Asian mixed with Southern dining establishment is located inside the South Market District’s Paramount building.

Not only has Gulotta achieved local success, he has also built a reputation nationally. Food and Wine Magazine proclaimed him the “Best New Chef” last April and Bon Appetit nominated MoPho for “Best New Restaurant” in 2014. In December 2016, he was also named “Chef of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine.

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