Michelle Garnaut


Founder and CEO
M Restaurant Group


  • Began her career as one of China’s most celebrated restaurateurs in 1989, when she opened M at the Fringe in Hong Kong after studying at Bachelor of Arts at Monash University.
  • 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 opened Capital M on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
  • Over the years, in tandem with the restaurants’ exuberant growth, an empire of cultural events has grown up.
  • Founded the Shanghai and Capital Literary Festivals, the Shanghai Chamber Music Festival and Competition and the M Literary Residency.
  • The co-founder of the Village People Project, which aimed to improve the lives and health of villagers in rural China, She also works to promote Educating Girls of Rural China.
  • In Beijing and Shanghai, spearheads Mentor Walks, where up-and-coming professional women can seek advice from experienced mentors.
  • The concept of Mentor Walks has been widely disseminated and now operates in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and many cities in Australia and NZ including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Christchurch thanks to the Mentor Walks Australia team it continues to spread around Asia.
  • The recipient of many international honours, including the inaugural award in Food at the Advance Global Australian Awards.
  • Sits on various boards including the Advance Global Board.
  • In 2015, 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.
  • Appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List for “distinguished service to Australia-China relations as a restaurateur and entrepreneur, to the promotion of Australian food, film and design, as a supporter of literary and cultural programs, and as a role model”.
  • Closed her China operations in March 2022.
  • Today focused on mentoring and working with women in all fields helping them on their path to success, however they wish to define it.