DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — If you’ve walked passed The Ray Hotel, or peered in the window wondering what all the bustling and hype is about, two words: Akira Back.
He’s opened an upscale restaurant called Akira Back Delray at the venue. Back's restaurant in Seoul, South Korea was awarded one Michelin star in 2018.
With every swipe of the blade, Chef Back creates art in the form of food.
“It's perfect spot. Why not? And then the vibe here is awesome, very chill and relaxed, so I loved it right away,” said Back.
His food is influenced by family.
“I was born and raised in Korea, eating, growing up on my mom's food,” Back said.
Hints of flavors from his native country, Americanized by his upbringing in Colorado is tantalizing taste buds.
“I've been there five times [since opening in late March],” said Adam Frankel, Delray City Commissioner who was appointed Vice Mayor this week.
One could characterize Frankel is a super-fan.
“It's the best food I've had here in Palm Beach County. I go out five, six nights a week. It is at a different level,” said Frankel. "It is second to none here."
Frankel loves the influences in the restaurant from Back's mom.
“ The pop-rock roll that the only way he would eat sushi as a child was having his mother put pop rocks in the roll,” Frankel said.
“ The first most important thing of our restaurant elements… It's my mom,” said Back.
His mom’s Artwork featured prominently on the walls.
“But once they see my mom's art everybody go, 'Wow. Stunning,'" Back said.
Her art is even featured on the plates and when Back serves his food art on her plates it’s like their artistic worlds combined.
With 18 locations, Back said he has 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 everybody better than me. You know?,” said Back.
That's a daunting task considering Palm Beach County’s nearly 1,200 open positions in the food industry according to CareerSource Palm Beach.
“When you have the caliber of a Michelin starred chef, but now I think this quality of cuisine will bring some of the foodies in the area, particularly here in Palm Beach County. It just takes it to another level,” said Frankel.