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Michael Chang

Co-Owner, Chef

As a first generation American, I put a lot of pressure on myself to become a ‘doctor, lawyer or engineer'. And I stayed the course all the way to graduate school at the London School of Economics. However, I realized that my true passion did not lie within Economics, but rather in the multi-course dinner parties that I hosted weekly for friends throughout college. After deciding to take a sabbatical from LSE, I immediately enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in Soho, New York. And within the first week of classes at culinary school, I knew that my career would be in the food industry.

After graduating from FCI in 2012, I moved to Denver for a better chance of advancing my career. Denver’s restaurant scene was just beginning to flourish and I was fortunate to be a part of several of the city’s top restaurants - including Bittersweet, Acorn, Il Posto and Beatrice & Woodsley. Once my wife and business partner Caroline and I secured investment to open our own restaurant, and with plenty of support from our two families, we chose to relocate to Carmel-by-the-Sea. The town was an easy choice given its proximity to world-class produce in the Salinas Valley, fresh seafood from Monterey Bay and award-winning wines from California.

Caroline and I first started the concept for Foray in early 2017 by hosting private dinner parties throughout the Monterey Peninsula. These small dinners, usually no more than 12 guests and no less than 7 courses, highlighted ingredients foraged by us and our network of West Coast foraging friends, the finest local seafood and single origin California wagyu beef. Through these private dinners, Foray has raised over $500k for local non-profits including AIM Youth Mental Health and the NPS Foundation.

We found our brick and mortar location in 2019 and began the process of renovating a space that had been unoccupied for 15 years. We only kept the original late 1940’s cement floor – everything else was completely removed and we started with a blank canvas. Our first step was to source local products so that our design matched our restaurant’s overall philosophy that local is better. And we found that in the reclaimed Monterey cypress and custom gyotaku artwork that adorn our dining room. While the pandemic slowed construction, we were finally able to open our doors in late 2022!