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. Though it is now run by his younger brother Thai Cuisine remains the only fine-dining Thai restaurant in Ithaca, 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. With a focus on French cuisine with Asian influence, set in a trendy atmosphere, Madeline’s maintains its place as one of the most successful restaurants in Ithaca, even after Lex sold it to his manager in 2006.

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 professionals who were pastry chef at Le Cirque. Only recently has she decided to share her delicious creations with those other than her friends and family by taking over the dessert program at ZaZa’s, transforming it into one of the best dessert destinations in Ithaca.

Lex & Flaminia first met when Lex was seeking to enhance his Italian linguistics in order to perform research for the ZaZa’s concept. Their shared love for food and wine developed into love for one another and they have been an unstoppable team ever since.

ZaZa’s opened its doors in 2002, in a space that was once an independent video store. ZaZa’s is Lex’s most ambitious project to date, representing the culmination of all of his past experience and hard work. Every design element and detail decided upon by Lex and his creative team was based on his vision of what a modern Italian restaurant should aspire to be based on his time spent in Italy researching the ZaZa’s project.

Coming Soon!!!!

Lex has already begun working on his next exciting restaurant concept, a Pan-Asian restaurant that will feature high-end cuisine from many Asian countries in a unique and beautiful atmosphere. Mia is a result of his constant drive to create new and exciting food concepts and his desire to reconnect with his roots and the food he grew up with in Thailand and India. For more information please visit us at www.miaithaca.com