Michael Ginor, a highly regarded chef and owner of Lola in Great Neck, died of a heart attack in Israel over the weekend participating in an Ironman triathlon competition, his publicist told the New York Daily News Monday. He was 59.
Ginor also owned Hudson Valley Foie Gras in the Catskills, which became one the country’s largest producers of foie gras since opening over three decades ago.
He was participating in the “Galileo by the Sea” triathlon that featured running, swimming and cycling in a 70-mile race.
Ginor got his start opening La Verdad in Boston, which was awarded “The Best Casual Mexican Restaurant in the U.S.” by Bon Appetit Magazine and “One of the best 100 Restaurants in the US” by Food and Wine Magazine, according to his biography.
His first local venture was Tel Aviv in Great Neck, a Mediterranean restaurant that opened in July 2007 to critical acclaim before closing in 2011. He then opened Lola on Middle Neck Road two years later in 2009.
Ginor’s cookbook, “Foie Gras…A Passion”, earned the 1999 Prix la Mazille for best international cookbook of the year from the International Cookbook Revue in Versailles, France.
In 2001, Ginor and his business partner Izzy Yanay earned the 2001 D’Artagnan/Cervena Who’s Who of Food & Beverage Award from the James Beard Foundation for lifetime achievement.
Ginor was born in Seattle, Wash., in 1963 to Israeli expatriates who later settled in Great Neck.
He is a graduate of Brandeis University and has a master of business administration from New York University, according to his biography.
Ginor joined the Israeli Defense Forces in 1988 where he served as a captain in the Gaza Strip, patrol commander and spokesman for the IDF.
He is survived by his wife, Laurie, his two sons, Yonatan and Jordan, his daughter, Maya, and his brother, Natti. A private service was held for Ginor on Wednesday.