Stephanie Michels manages Mi Cocina restaurant.
1. How did you get into restaurant management?
I started out in this business when I was 14 years old and have worked every job from dishwasher to manager. Every day is different — different people, different experiences.
One of my favorite things about restaurant life is that I have the opportunity to meet interesting and engaging people. I have watched some of my youngest guests grow from babies to children or others grow their families and experience major milestones and have enjoyed being a part of their lives.
I also get to eat a lot of really great, fresh and flavorful food. I love working for a concept that believes in quality, and that was what attracted me to a brand like Mi Cocina. We make our food from scratch throughout the day, so we are always serving our guests the absolute best.
2. Which traits do you look for in an employee?
The restaurant industry is fast-paced and high-energy. When I am interviewing a potential team member, I’m looking for someone who is able to multitask, roll with the punches and meet the needs of our guests with a smile on their face and a great personality. We are in the business of serving people, and our company was founded on the principle of providing humble hospitality as if we were entertaining guests in our own home. There is a level of anticipation and care that I look for.
Providing excellent service, creating excellent food: It’s our foundation and what makes Mi Cocina not only a place where people celebrate but also their home away from home — a go-to when they’re looking for a comfortable, familiar and relaxing dining experience with friends and family.
3. What is the most popular dish at Mi Cocina?
Without question, our Tacos de Brisket are by far the most requested item at our restaurant. We slow-roast our beef brisket for eight hours to tender, juicy perfection then top it with jack cheese, grilled onions and poblanos on corn or flour tortillas with cilantro rice and chile de arbol salsa.
But if you ask me, I’m ordering from the brunch menu. From fluffy pancakes to breakfast tacos, traditional Mexican egg dishes and delicious brunch cocktails, it’s my favorite menu here at Mi Cocina.
4. Who gave you the best advice?
The best advice I ever received was from my grandfather. He always said, “The price of success is hard work,” and I have carried that truth with me throughout my career. Success is rewarding. I know that when my grandfather said those words to me it was because he wanted the very best for me and wanted me to experience the payoff that makes all the hard work and dedication worth it in the end. It’s something that I share with my employees, as well.
It’s not easy what we do day in and day out, but the success is worth it.
5. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my free time, you can catch me watching local live music here in Tulsa! Mercury Lounge and Cain’s Ballroom are two of my favorite spots.
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