Michelin-starred chef opens restaurant in Delray Beach

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DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – If you’ve walked past the Ray Hotel or looked out the window wondering what it’s all about, two words: Akira Back.

He opened an upscale restaurant called Akira Back Delray on site. Back’s restaurant in Seoul, South Korea was awarded a Michelin star in 2018.

With every stroke of the blade, Chef Back creates art in the form of food.

“It’s the perfect place. Why not? And then the vibe here is great, very chilled and relaxed, so I loved it right away,” Back said.

His food is influenced by family.

“I was born and raised in Korea, I ate and grew up on my mother’s food,” Back said.

Hints of flavors from his native country, Americanized by his upbringing in Colorado, delight the taste buds.

“I have been there five times [since opening in late March]said Adam Frankel, commissioner for the city of Delray, who was named vice mayor this week.

You could call Frankel a super-fan.

“This is the best food I’ve had here in Palm Beach County. I go out five, six nights a week. It’s on a different level,” Frankel said. “It’s unmatched here.”

Frankel likes the influences of Back’s mother’s restaurant.

“The pop-rock roll that the only way for him to eat sushi as a child was to ask his mother to put pop rocks in the roll,” Frankel said.

“The first most important thing about our restaurant elements…is my mom,” Back said.

Her mother’s artwork featured prominently on the walls.

“But once they see my mom’s art, everyone is like, ‘Wow. Stunning,’” Back said.

His art is even featured on the plates and when Back serves his culinary art on his plates, it’s as if their artistic worlds are combined.

With 18 slots, Back said he had a weapon in his arsenal to maintain quality.

“When you have a chef who has restaurants in Las Vegas, Dubai and now Delray Beach. I think they know how to train their staff,” Frankel said.

“I hire everyone better than me. You know ? “said Back.

That’s a daunting task considering Palm Beach County’s approximately 1,200 vacancies in the food industry according to CareerSource Palm Beach.

“When you have the caliber of a Michelin star chef, but now I think that quality of cooking will appeal to some of the foodies in the area, especially here in Palm Beach County. It just takes it to another level” , Frankel said.

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