On the day after his 14th birthday, Morgan Starr started washing dishes at Macaroni's Ristorante in Ashland, Oregon. By 16 he was running the kitchen.
He graduated from Ashland High School in June of 1995, and didn't have a college or career chosen. With the encouragement of the Chef/Owner of the restaurant next door, A CIA grad himself, Morgan applied , was accepted the October enrollment in Hyde Park and graduated in the upper percentile of his class in June of '97.
After attending the on-campus career fair, he received job offers from both the Marriott and Hilton chains as well as Caterair International Inc. He felt that it would serve him well to take the best management position he could get. Caterair had a strong Union, and was located a JFK Int'l Airport, and figuring that this was about as a good an experience as he was going to get, he took the job. Despite being promoted almost right away as well as receiving pay increases, his heart was not in this industry and he realized that if he continued the money would get too good and he may find himself like his peers; burnt out in the primes of their lives.
He than took a job at an Inn in Amenia, NY named Troutbeck inn and Conference center. As he arrived to take up the post of Asst. Ops manager, two things happened. The Operations manager quit and within two weeks of his arrival the Grand Ballroom burned almost to the ground. This left Morgan to restock an entire catering facility, re-write and purchase for a new wine program while running their 60 seat dining room. Although he was only at Troutbeck for less than a year, the Inn went through three Chefs, all of whom he felt were undeserving of the title. It was this experience that led him back West to get into cooking.
Lucky age 21; Las Vegas was a fun place to spend the early twenties. Morgan moved to help open the Venetian Hotel Resort Casino. He was just a number to the Chefs, which suited him fine, he felt rusty after his hiatus from the kitchen. He worked in the Banquet kitchen under Chef Sean DeCicco, who was an honest hard working chef who had just returned from a stint in Hawaii. When a couple of years later Morgan met and married his wife Ingrid Chan, and expressed interest in moving on and perhaps going to Hawaii. Sean informed him that there was a job open with his former employer, Hualalai Resort. They were looking for a sous chef for the resident's restaurant and Sean felt Morgan would be a good fit. Hualalai invited Morgan to Hawaii to cook for the executive chef as well as a small group of executives. He did well and was asked to return to Hawaii to take the position, where he stayed for three years.
At age 24 he and his wife, although happy in their careers, recognized that in this business you don't have much time to have family, unless you work together. They were advised to not do this lest ruin their relationship. They ignored the advice of their friends and family, sold all of their belongings and went backpacking through South America as well as South East Asia. They than went on a two month road trip across the country to see the Nat'l Parks of the US. This was to prove to themselves that they could go through challenging times together.
They returned to Hawaii the next year and along the same lines of their travels they decided to build a house together. Morgan made the decision to continue his sabbatical from the kitchen and do most of the building himself. He had a friend to help and do the technical parts while he was mostly the grunt laborer. It turned out he was a terrible builder, but luckily his friend taught him an important lesson about patience, and the house was completed on time.
Mi's Italian Bistro came into being in the summer of 2007, where they bought a restaurant space in Kealakekua, HI. After a fast 35 day renovation the restaurant opened October 3rd, 2007 to immediate success. Local news critics wrote favorably calling Morgan a “new breed of chef”, and hailing Mi's as a smash hit.
Ingrid Chan was born and raised in Malaysia. After graduating high school, she went to Switzerland and received her 2 year Hospitality Diploma from Centre International De Glion. She then transferred her credits to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she completed her Bachelors degree in Hospitality Administration. She has worked at numerous restaurants and hotels in Switzerland, Singapore, Las Vegas and Kona, Hawaii.
Mi's Italian Bistro was opened when Ingrid Chan and Morgan Starr were 3 months pregnant. Yi Starrchan was born March 5th, 2008 and has been part of the Mi's team since day one. Some guests even say that she is the “real boss” :) Don't be surprised when she greets you with one of her smiles! Mei Starrchan was born July 13th, 2010 and Lu Starrchan was born January 6th, 2016.
We the Starrchan family continue to find love and joy serving the community of the Big Island. The last dinner service at Mi's Italian Bistro was April 2, 2016. We relocated our bistro to the heart of Kailua-Kona, in the Waterfront Row Building. Mi's Waterfront Bistro was opened May 23, 2016. We appreciate all your support and look forward to serving you in our newest adventure!