Lex Chutintaranond was born and raised in Thailand. He came to the US in his teens and obtained his Undergraduate & Masters Degree in Computer Engineering. After working for IBM for many years, Lex decided his passion was in the kitchen. In 1988 he opened his first restaurant, Thai Cuisine. The restaurant is now run by his younger brother, and is considered by many to offer the best Thai food in New York.
In 1991, Lex opened Just a Taste, a small wine & tapas restaurant located in downtown Ithaca with a friendly, casual atmosphere, and a focus on affordable food & wine. In 1994, it was sold to the restaurant’s head chef and is still one of the most popular restaurants in town.
In 1998, Lex transformed a downtown Ithaca food court into an amazing upscale Euro-Asian restaurant called Madeline’s, which he since sold to his manager in 2006. With a focus on French cuisine with Asian influences, set in a trendy atmosphere, Madeline’s maintains its place as one of the most successful restaurants in Ithaca.
In 2002, Lex opened ZaZa's Cucina, in a space that was once an independent video store. ZaZa's represents the culmination of his past experience and hard work. Lex had a vision of what a modern Italian restaurant should aspire to be, and he has delivered it through ZaZa's. The restaurant is still owned and operated by Lex and Flaminia.
It is now 2011, and Lex and Flaminia have opened the doors at Mia. This is by far their most ambitious project. Mia is the result of Lex's constant drive to create new and exciting food. Mia strives to provide fine cuisine in a unique and beautiful atmosphere. The cuisine at Mia comes from Lex's desire to reconnect with his roots and is thus inspired by the food he grew up with in Thailand and India.
Flaminia Cervesi was born & raised in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and came to America to obtain her Masters Degree in Literature. She moved to Ithaca to take on a position in the Italian Language Department at Cornell University where she still teaches today. Her passion for pastries and baking has always been a large part of her life, and she has studied with a former pastry chef of Le Cirque. Only recently has she decided to share her delicious creations with those other than her friends and family. She has taken over the dessert programs at ZaZa’s and Mia, and has transformed them into some of the best dessert destinations in Ithaca.
Lex & Flaminia first met when Lex was seeking to enhance his knowledge of Italian in order to perform research for the ZaZa’s concept. Their love of food and wine developed into love for one another and they have been an unstoppable team ever since.
Friday & Saturday 5pm-10:00pm
Open daily at 5:00pm
130 East State St.
Ithaca NY 14850