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BEST OF DURHAM

2020

m tempura

PHOTO BY BRIANA BROUGH

THE DISH North Carolina white shrimp ($4) and Argentine pink prawns with heads ($6) – Ordered a la carte, and all tempura items are two pieces per order. The special thing about Japanese-style tempura, especially the dedicated tempura style, is that the batter is super minimal and very light so that the flavors of the ingredients shine on [their] own. We also time each tempura so that it is the optimal temperature. The shrimp and prawns we like to cook to around medium so that middle is still slightly uncooked to show [those] sweet flavors better. The head is fried a little longer to cook fully so that the innards can be enjoyed safely. I totally do not deserve such a title [of a Readers’ Favorite chef ], but am super thankful for everyone who believes in me. It’s what drives me harder and further every day! When our family immigrated to the U.S., my parents had to work odd hours, so my brother and I had to prep and cook much of our own food. I grew up cooking from a very young age and flipping burgers at [a] Sonic drive-thru at 14: my first job. After high school, I got a job at a local Japanese restaurant working in the kitchen and serving, so the restaurant and food scene always stayed with me as a big part of my life. I enjoyed the restaurant work so much that I dropped out of college in my senior year with one semester left (of course, my parents best chef tried to kill me). I love working in the lines of all my kitchens … and frying up each ingredient and conversing with the guests. It isn’t work most of the time; it’s more like a hobby! Being able to serve the wonderful people of Durham and the Triangle is probably one of the best gifts of my lifetime. The support and love is something I have not felt anywhere else during my work at more than 25 restaurants before North Carolina. I also love how diverse the community is, too, which has a direct effect on the food scene as well. I am here for life!” – Michael Lee chef and owner at M Tempura, M Kokko, M Pocha and M Sushi 

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august 2020

Profile for Shannon Media

Durham Magazine August 2020  

The Best of Durham

Durham Magazine August 2020  

The Best of Durham

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