Michelle Garnaut began her career as one of China's most celebrated restaurateurs in 1989, when she opened M at the Fringe in Hong Kong. It swiftly grew into a city institution, and in 1999, M on the Bund opened, the first independent restaurant on the historic Shanghai waterfront. Like its predecessor, it soon became a beloved oasis for locals, visitors and lovers of good food and warm service. In 2009 she opened Capital M on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Today, Michelle’s M Restaurant Group includes M on the Bund and Glam, a chic Shanghai dining lounge. Over the years, in tandem with the restaurants' exuberant growth, an empire of cultural events has grown up. Michelle founded the Shanghai and Capital Literary Festivals, the Shanghai Chamber Music Festival and Competition and the M Literary Residency. She's also the co-founder of the Village People Project, which aims to improve the lives and health of villagers in rural China and works to promote Educating Girls of Rural China.
In Beijing and Shanghai, she spearheads Mentor Walks, where up-and-coming professional women can seek advice from experienced mentors. Mentor Walks now operates in Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane and continues to spread around Asia.
Michelle is the recipient of many international honours, including the inaugural award in Food at the Advance Global Australian Awards. She sits on various boards including the Advance Global Board. In 2015 Michelle was invited to the 'Legends Hall of Fame' which pays tribute to the leaders, ground breakers and visionaries of Australia and Victoria’s food and wine industry. She was made an ‘Officer of the Order of Australia’ in the Australia Day Honours List 2018.