Michael Kornick

Michael Kornick

Chef/Owner, DMK Restaurants

When Chef Michael Kornick opened mk The Restaurant in 1998, he turned a once-unfrequented corner of Chicago’s River North neighborhood into a landmark destination of the Second City restaurant scene. Today, Kornick operates mk alongside his wife and business partner, Lisa. Throughout his years in the hospitality industry, he has developed a deep understanding of just what guests’ desire in a dining experience. “People genuinely have a need to be cared for,” Kornick says. “We pay a lot of attention to empowering guests to take ownership of their time with us. What people really want is to have it their way, and at my restaurants, we simply provide the guidance.” With this philosophy, Kornick and mk have continually garnered national attention, including five consecutive James Beard Foundation nominations, three stars from the Chicago Tribune, a number-one rating from Zagat, and recognition as a Conde Nast Traveler “Hottest Restaurant in the World.”

In 2009, 11 years after opening mk, Kornick and his partner David Morton launched DMK Burger Bar to critical acclaim in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, serving grass-fed beef burgers, hand-cut fries, and craft beers. They next opened Fish Bar, Ada Street, County Barbeque, and Henry’s Swing Club followed by a DMK Burger Bar and DMK Burger and Fish in greater Chicago.

A native of Highland Park, IL, the Culinary Institute of America alum got his start at the famed Quilted Giraffe in New York. He assumed his first executive chef role at Gordon Sinclair’s Gordon Restaurant in Chicago in 1985. Kornick worked with Rich Melman at Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. and then, at age 28, became the as youngest executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Company at their Boston property. Kornick returned to Chicago as managing partner for the KDK Restaurant Group, launching Marché and Red Light in 1993 and 1997, the latter earning a spot on John Mariani’s annual “Best New Restaurants of the Year” in Esquire magazine. Over the past 15 years through his consulting business, Kornick has also helped define and create restaurants around the country.

Kornick has a great appreciation for wine and mk has one of the finest selections in Chicago. As a collector and chef, Kornick has a great talent for pairing wine and food, and has been sought out to chef many important wine functions from coast to coast.

Understandably, much of Kornick’s life revolves around his restaurants, but working in tandem with his wife and spending plenty of time with his four children make for a schedule that is as productive as it is rewarding. Along with these wholesome values is his commitment to philanthropy; Kornick and all of the DMK Restaurants proudly celebrate initiatives for 365 Days of Giving. He and his family reside in the Chicago suburb of Evanston.