WELLcome Home, Michael Ran!

We're excited to continue our monthly feature highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we'd like to (re)introduce you to Michael Ran!

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TW: You've recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some time away. What brought you back?
MR: It was time to come home.  I always knew I wanted to settle down and raise a family in Michigan and I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready for that to happen.  Also—Detroit is becoming a viable thriving city and I wanted to be here during this incredible transitional period it’s in the middle of.

TW: Where did life take you before you returned home?
MR: I went to the University of Colorado-Boulder for college.  After that, I made my way to New York and eventually to Philadelphia.  After a fun 12 years, I met a girl and wanted to move home.

TW: In addition to moving, you've also recently changed careers from working as a Head Chef to working in the Wealth Advisory and Management industry. What's that transition been like?
MR: As crazy as it sounds, the transition hasn’t been as difficult as some would think.  Finance and investments are something that have always been a passion of mine, and something that I’ve always kept myself educated about.  And like a chef looking at a basket of raw ingredients, I like the challenge of looking at a client’s portfolio and seeing what the best “dish” will be for them.  What works for one person might not work for another, and it’s the same whether you’re in the kitchen or meeting with clients.  It’s a rewarding challenge finding the perfect outcome for each person.  I’m still working in a team environment, constantly learning from the best around, all while building my own “recipe book” of success.  But at the end of the day, the goal is still the same: it’s all about helping people and ensuring the client (or diner) is having the best experience possible.

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TW: Let's go back to your time in the culinary world for a minute. What experience would you say made the biggest impact on you?
MR: My first day on the job in New York City, I was forced to work the grill station at a very nice steakhouse (mind you I had no experience cooking steaks in a restaurant, and we’re talking about $100 steaks).  The head chef, who had just taken over the kitchen in his first Executive Chef job, pulled me outside after service and said: “you may not like me for the first few months, but I promise you, as long as you work hard for me, I will turn you into one of the best cooks in this city”. It was a new city and a new career, but he showed me that if you look adversity straight in the face, you can own whatever it’s throwing at you that week.

TW: What inspired you to get into cooking?
MR: I was your classic middle child growing up which usually led to my parents grounding me on the weekends.  Back then, Domino’s was about the only thing you could get delivered consistently.  So instead of eating pizza every weekend, I glued myself to “Good Eats” on the Food Network and taught myself to cook.

TW: What's your ideal Saturday?
MR: An ideal Saturday starts with me at the Farmer’s Market and ends with a homemade dinner hanging out with my fiancée Arielle, some of our good friends and great wine, obviously.  The hours between are for whatever strolls my way that afternoon.

TW: How do you like to give back to the community/others?
MR: By being the most effective version of myself.  Working as a Chef, I learned the importance of using your position and standing up to help those that are less fortunate.

TW: What's your favorite place that you've traveled to and what fictional place would you most like to go to and why?
MR: Favorite Place: Southeast Asia.  Some of the best food I’ve ever had in my entire life. Fictional Place: Hogwarts. Self-explanatory.

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TW: If you could bring one thing from Philly to Detroit, what would it be?
MR: A winning football team!

TW: Who are 3 people you would love to invite to your Shabbat dinner table, dead or alive?
MR: 1) Philip Stollman—Great Grandfather, 2) Ronald Stone—Grandfather, 3) Abe Ran—Grandfather.
I was 14 years old when I lost my last grandfather.  I knew them as family members but didn’t really grasp the importance they played on our community until I was much older.  I’d love to have known them when they were my age, just getting a start in what ended up being very influential careers for each of them. So much of who I am is because of them, so I’d like to know why.

TW: What's your favorite thing to talk about?
MR: See questions 1-10 :)

TW: What do you look for in your Jewish community?
MR: Just that: Community.  The numbers are probably incorrect but, we always joke that Jews make up 1% of the world, and odds are, you know about 95% through friends and family.  And it’s the community aspect of it that I find fascinating about Judaism.  We’re a people who have been misplaced throughout our entire history, but at the end of the day, we have each other’s back and that’s where we thrive.


TW: What's your favorite Jewish food to make? Care to share your recipe with us?
MR: Chicken Shishlik (kebabs)

  • 1lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

  • 1 Small Spanish Onion

  •  ½ Cup Amba (pickled mango)

  •  1 Tbsp Tumeric

  • Rice Pilaf


  • Place quartered onion and turmeric into blender

  • While motor is running, slowly drizzle in Amba until emulsified

  • Once combined, marinate chicken over night

  • Next day, heat grill to high and cook chicken until deeply caramelized

  • Enjoy with favorite Pilaf

TW: Finish the sentence: When I go to The Well…
MR: like the social programming it has to offer.  I love meeting new people and sharing new experiences and The Well is a place that allows me to do it all.