Learn more about the source and inspiration behind the team at Stratus and The Beacon, the premier bar and restaurant atop of Boston’s iconic Prudential Tower.


Michelle Julia (MJ) Avalos has been a chef for over 17 years. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, she knew from a young age that she wanted to have a career in culinary arts. Her energetic personality made it so that she was always creating something or using her hands. When she realized she could do that with food and make people happy with her creations, she knew she had found her calling.

At the age of 13, Avalos started working her first kitchen job at a family-owned Italian pizza restaurant while living with some family in Indiana. After moving back to Chicago at 17, MJ started dancing and choreographing professionally which helped her pay for culinary school. She received her degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago and then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hospitality Management from Kendall College. Her previous jobs include being the Executive Chef at City Winery in Boston, True Food Kitchen, The Barn Steakhouse, and Harry & Eddies, Stolp Island Social, Found Kitchen and JRocco Italian Table. Avalos credits her wealth of culinary knowledge to her mentor, Mark Grimes of the Marcus Group in Milwaukee, whom she met while working at Hotel Arista/Che Figata in Naperville, IL.

Avalos always dreamed of moving to the culinary-forward city of Boston, where she officially moved in 2022. Currently, Avalos serves as Executive Chef at View Boston, an experiential observatory at the top three floors of the Prudential Tower. Since joining the team, she has created an entirely new menu featuring signature dishes, cocktails and perfectly crafted shared plates. When creating the menu, Avalos drew inspiration from the beautiful seasons – known for “cooking in color,” she mixes in fruits and vegetables that tell a story and compliment the variety of cuisine offerings.