Michael Symon

That meat-centric bald guy with the infectious laugh on ABC's The Chew? That's our guy - Cleveland's own Super Chef Michael Symon.

Since winning Iron Chef America in 2007, Symon has become a regular on TV cooking shows and opened a string of restaurants.

In addition to his signature East Fourth Street restaurant Lola, Symon runs Lolita in Tremont and B Spot Burger locations in Woodmere, Strongsville, Westlake and Downtown Cleveland (inside the Horseshoe Casino).

A wrestler in high school, Symon turned to cooking after he broke his arm during a practice.  Bored and looking for college money, he took a part-time job at a local pizza and rib place.

From there, he never looked back. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York he returned to Cleveland, working in various area kitchens. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland's daily newspaper, named Symon the city's hottest chef in 1995.

Two years later, he opened Lola with his fiancée, and now wife, Liz Shanahan.  Clevelanders fell in love with Symon's rosemary fries and beef cheek pierogies.

Word soon spread.  Food & Wine magazine named him one of the "Ten Best New Chefs in America" in 1998. Gourmet followed in 2000, calling Lola one of "America's Best Restaurants." In 2009, Symon won the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef-Great Lakes award.

When Symon isn't thinking about pork, which is probably hardly ever, he's likely riding his motorcycle around town, planning his next tattoo or hanging with his family, which includes a bullmastiff and Old English bulldog.

Michael Symon's Ode to Cleveland


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