Mohammad Islam became interested in the culinary world simply through a passion for food. As a young visionary, Islam left an uninspiring electrical engineering degree to embark on a soul searching, fishing journey in Montana USA, that would eventually lead to his meteoric rise in the restaurant industry and development of a back ground that most chefs would only dream of achieving. After traveling as far as Switzerland to culinary school, Islam returned to the US to seek out the best chefs and most prestigious restaurants to apprentice with starting out in Chicago.
Islam’s first big break was with Sara Stegner at the Ritz where he was integral to Sara’s 1998 win of the James Beard Best Chef award. After Chicago, came an offer from Chef John George, one of the best in the world in the nineties. After making a huge impression on him with a similar style and philosophy on cooking, Mohammad went on to become Executive Chef at the famed Mercer Kitchen in New York City and was also involved extensively as part of Chef John George’s executive team, working at the flag ship restaurant Jean Georges in NYC and assisting the opening of numerous international restaurants including Market in Paris and 66 in Shanghai.
After his time with Jean George, Islam began to revolutionize the running of large groups of restaurants in Los Angeles between 2001 and 2007 as Executive Chef and F&B director for Andre Balazs' Standard Hotel Group. Throughout his time as F&B director, Islam supervised 11 restaurants and bars across Standard Hollywood, Standard Downtown LA and the Raleigh Miami Hotel. At the standard Downtown LA, Islam shaped its rooftop nightclub bar to be voted as the best in LA as well as restructuring the famous Bar Marmont to renewed profitability and success. But possibly his greatest achievement through this time, was Islam’s direct responsibility for the remarkable turnaround of the dining scene at the famed Chatequ Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood, where he brought the illustrious venue to culinary life as it had never been experienced before. LA Times compared Islam’s cooking to Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse, a Berkeley California restaurant famous for its organic, locally-grown ingredients and for pioneering Californian cuisine. Food and Wine Magazine voted Islam as the Best New Chef in America. StarChef.com called Islam as a “Rising Star” in 2003 and later in 2007 as the “Modern Master of Spice.”
Returning to Chicago in 2007 where his professional culinary journey began, Islam was determined to make his mark in the dynamic culinary town by opening his own contemporary restaurant, Aigre Doux. In the very first year of operation, Islam’s success was recognized with awards of Best Chef and also Best Restaurant by Chicago Magazine.
Seeking new challenges and adventures, Islam left the USA for the UAE where he was appointed F&B director for the Enshaa group, managing 8 restaurants and bars across the GCC under the prestigious private business club, The Capital Club, and also tasked with the development of F&B for the Versace hotel. Desiring more personal projects and opportunities to combine his creative passion for food and cuisine with his corporate understanding of what makes a profitable and desirable F&B outlet, Islam drove the concept and development of his own creation, Atelier M. Representing his personal flagship and pathfinder project, Atelier M reflects Islam’s talent for driving a challenge into a success, leaving a rich legacy of high standards in his wake. Atelier M is where Mohammad’s passion for giving a place culinary soul is fully expressed through his attention to the exclusive, artisanal, and hard to find producers who preserve old processes to make their ingredients without short cuts.
From Atelier M, Islam has begun to develop a number of F&B outlets through his creative vision and operation expertise. New ventures include a number of cafes that have Islam’s signature design and menu inspirations to a specialty burger outlet, spread across Dubai from Downtown to Khawaneej. Seeking new challenges and inspirations, Islam has now developed ONI, a Japanese street style inspired restaurant that has a casual, chic vibe and a fresh, innovate menu. With his passion and drive, ONI is set to be another culinary success.
Through Islam’s wealth of experience, working in some of the finest restaurants in the world together with his perspective of a true entrepreneur, his passion, charisma and business acumen, Islam has developed a proven process that ultimately results in the knowledge and know-how of managing successful, profitable and sustainable F&B venues. Islam lends his wealth of experience and dynamic personal talent, for working with people as well as with numbers, to every food outlet that he manages, leading ultimately to an increase of sales growth and improved profitability and cash flow.