Chef Michael Ginor, Co-owner of Lola Restaurant in Great Neck, Dies

michael ginor
Courtesy Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Renowned chef Michael Ginor, co-owner and co-founder of Lola Restaurant in Great Neck, died suddenly on Nov. 25 while competing in the Ironman cooking competition in Israel. He was 59.

Ginor was an award-winning chef and restaurateur who also co-founded Hudson Valley Foie Gras, a leading producer of the gourmet duck or goose delicacy called foie gras. He authored several books and cookbooks based on his worldly culinary experiences, and also appeared on the popular Food Network show Beat Bobby Flay.

“Michael will be remembered as a generous and passionate, fine-food artist who had a keen sense for business,” said Lenny Messina, Ginor’s friend and co-owner of Restaurant Lola. “His vision revolutionized the way foie gras is produced, distributed, and served by the world’s finest chefs and restaurants. It is truly a sad day for all of us.” 

Ginor and Messina opened Lola Restaurant in Great Neck in 2009. Its first iterations served Spanish tapas and New American cuisine. By 2015, the restaurant became what it is today: a spot for Mediterranean cuisine featuring Middle Eastern and North African dishes. Food critics at the New York Times have called Lola “a sophisticated spot with a big-city air.”

Ginor was also an advocate and philanthropist. He was outspoken against laws that banned the sale of foie gras and educated the public about production practices that he developed on the Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm. He also donated to charities such as City Harvest, Autism Speaks and the Anthony Spinazzola Foundation.

“Michael was the most humble, kindest human I’ve ever met,” said Private Chef Peter Barlow. “He was inspiring and funny. I will always remember his kindness and his curiosity for life and food.”

Services for Ginor will be held on Nov. 30 at 10:30 a.m. in West Babylon and 1 p.m. Great Neck, and livestreamed at http://client.tribucast.com/tcid/3295537660.