Tarla Mediterranean Grill on First Street has a new executive chef, according to an announcement from the popular downtown restaurant.
Michael Benjamin Powell is the former executive chef at West Marin's Olema Farm House Restaurant and the yet-to-open Inverness Fish House, according to Tarla proprietor Yusuf Topal:
Powell has worked with some of the most respected chefs in the United States as well as received the highest local and national accolades. He has been published in both local and national press including Bon Appetite, Restaurants and Institutions and the New York Times.
"The greatest mistake a man can make is underestimating the potential of another human," said Chef Powell. "I learn from everyone I work with - from my sous chef to the dishwasher. If you don't consistently learn from those around you than will never know who may inspire you, inspire the food or be that next shining star."
Before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Powell was chef/partner of The Ripple Inn and Room 929 in the Broad Ripple Village district of Indianapolis. His cuisine was quickly credited with teaching Indianapolis residents how to dine in the post steakhouse-era.
He served as a culinary instructor at The Chef's Academy in downtown Indianapolis where he was one of the first founding members of its Board of Advisors in 2005.
He is also president and consultant of Vertical Restaurant Concepts and owns Catered Memories.
Inspired by his Greek grandfather, Powell decided to become a chef at the age of seven. At 10 years old, he wrote a three-page letter to The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) requesting application for the school. It was at this very young age that he determined his future was destined to be in food.
From that day forward, he pursued his dream with great passion and determination. He went on to attend the CIA and was awarded their highest honor, The Frances L. Roth award, for outstanding performance throughout the duration of the culinary arts program and received one of its largest culinary scholarships.
At the age of 23, Michael was chosen to compete in a national competition where he placed second in his region for best young chefs in the United States under the age of 27.
Powell's professional experience encompasses experience in many of the best restaurants ranging from coast to coast.
Tarla means "field" in Turkish, Topal said, and "implies the fertile expanse of earth that can provide for the people around it." The restaurant opened in 2011 and became instantly popular with locals.
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