Chef Spotlight: Graham Dailey of Peninsula Grill, Charleston

By:Staff Writer

Date:9/2/2014

Chef Graham Dailey
Chef Graham Dailey of Peninsula Grill, Charleston

Graham Dailey is the Executive Chef of the Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond Peninsula Grill at Planters Inn the acclaimed Relais & Châteaux property located in the heart of Historic Charleston, South Carolina. As a lead member of the team that opened Peninsula Grill in 1997 and Chef de Cuisine for eight years prior to being named Executive Chef, Dailey has played an integral role in the remarkable success of the restaurant, which was heralded by Esquire magazine as one of America's best new restaurants and has earned recognition from a host of other esteemed publications, including The New York Times, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, Wine Spectator and Food & Wine, which named it one of America's Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.

From a young age, Dailey worked alongside his father in the kitchens of their family-owned restaurants in California. His teenage years were spent on fishing and shrimping boats in the Gulf of Mexico, which deepened his appreciation for the ocean. These two defining experiences along with Dailey's personal passion for gardening shaped his quest to use the very best and freshest ingredients.

Dailey's first professional cooking experience was in New York City, where he worked under Chef Anthony Bourdain, who also credits a youthful experience on a fishing boat as an igniting force in his desire to have a culinary career. Dailey spent two years with Bourdain, whom he considers a mentor, before enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Upon graduation, Dailey became the first American student to work in the three-star, Michelin-rated Hotel Lutetia in Paris, where the exacting level of excellence and attention to detail rounded out his refined style.

"Graham Dailey has always brought remarkable passion to Peninsula Grill," says Hank Holliday of The Holliday Companies, which owns Peninsula Grill and other restaurants and hotels in downtown Charleston. "His relationship with local fishermen is such that they call him from their boats to announce what grouper and snapper have been caught that day, Graham then serves the fish the same evening."

Peninsula Grill's principle of harvesting the finest Lowcountry produce and seafood combined with the very best fresh ingredients flown in daily from around the world is paired with Dailey's preference for lighter cuisine that showcases freshness and flavor purity.

"Graham is an extraordinarily talented chef," says Holliday. "He has developed a reputation for exquisite, modern Southern cuisine defined by high quality, fresh ingredients and executed to Relais & Chateaux standards. We are thrilled to have him leading our team."

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