How a former telenovela actress created ‘The Cheesecake Factory of healthy food’

Michelle Posada at her Michi's in Doral.

At just 25 years old, millennial Michelle Posada has checked more accomplishments off her goals list than most people do in a lifetime. She starred in TV commercials and movies as a child in her native Venezuela, where a passion for the culinary arts led her to buy and run a food truck when she was 18.  A move to Miami to escape Venezuela’s political unrest led to more acting work, this time on telenovelas. At the same time, Posada was putting her communications degree to good use by managing social media accounts for more than 20 local restaurants (and amassing more than 110,000 Instagram followers of her own).

Helping others promote their food gave Posada another goal to achieve: She wanted to open her own restaurant. The concept? Take the indulgent foods that she and everyone else loves to eat — pizza, arepas, pasta, waffles —  and make them healthier. Last year, she made that dream a reality with the opening of Michi’s Miami (no, not that Michy’s Miami). Posada’s restaurant, at 10437 Northwest 41st Street in Doral, is open seven days a week. INDULGE sat down with Posada to find out how a former telenovela star realized her dream of being a successful restaurateur.

Michelle Posada Michi's venezuela
Michelle Posada went from acting to running a restaurant and lifestyle brand, Michi’s.

What made you take the leap to open Michi’s?

“I started acting at a young age in commercials and movies in Venezuela, then in university I studied mass communication. I also love creating food, so when I turned 18, I invested some of the money from my acting jobs into opening a food truck with a friend who was in culinary school. Once I moved to Miami, I continued acting and started doing some social media work for small businesses. A lot of my clients were restaurants, but I really missed having my own creative venue like my food truck back in Venezuela. So I started a YouTube channel called Michi’s Kitchen. I focused on transforming my favorite dishes like arepas, pizza, pasta, cakes and waffles into healthier versions that tasted just as good. The concept was very successful with lots of positive feedback, so I took the leap to opening my own restaurant!”

Michi's
Michelle Posada with a healthy waffle.

Did being from Venezuela influence your decision to open in Doral, which has a large Venezuelan community?

“Yes, in Doral I knew I would have strong support from the Venezuelan community, so it was a great place to start. I had some Venezuelan plates that I knew my customers would love since we all miss our country so much! It brings back memories through good food. Also, being in Doral, my whole staff is Venezuelan. I love the feeling that I can give good jobs to mis paisanos!”

Arepas venezuelan food miami
Arepas are on the menu at Michi’s in Doral.

3. Have you ever heard of a restaurant besides Michi’s that serves pizza and poke on the same menu?

“The concept of Michi’s is taking food that everyone loves and making it healthy. When I started coming up with the menu, my boyfriend thought I was crazy. ‘How do you bring pizza and poke together?!’ But I explained that I wanted to be like The Cheesecake Factory of healthy food. And it works. Our pizza is the most popular on Uber Eats in the area, and at the same time, we sell thousands of poke bowls every month. We have customers that come every day to eat something totally different because it’s always delicious and healthy.”

4. Describe Michi’s cuisine in three words.

“Delicious. Fun. Healthy.”

michelle posada
Mmmm.

5. What’s next for you and for Michi’s?

“We are looking at opening new locations, including Brickell, but our concept goes beyond the food. It’s a lifestyle. We are finishing development of a whey protein, making it taste great with all-natural ingredients. It will launch in the next month or two. I would like to do more TV again. I’m still represented by an agency and do the occasional commercial, but I’m really busy with the restaurant right now. For something requiring a big commitment, I want it to be in line with our brand rather than just acting on telenovelas like I was before.”

Related: Show them you love them through food

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