Chef Todd Gray of Equinox - Biography

Washington, DC

November 2011

Despite often working close to home, Chef Todd Gray has a world of experience in the kitchen. A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Gray first become interested in cooking while waiting tables as an undergraduate at the University of Richmond. He began his pursuit of culinary knowledge by working under Christian Renault at the landmark restaurant La Petite Auberge right in his hometown. After receiving a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Gray trained in some of the country’s most respected restaurants including L’Orangerie, Citrus, and Patina.

Once he returned to the East Coast, Gray worked with Master Chef Robert Greault for four years at Washington, D.C.’s legendary French restaurant, La Colline. Afterward, he spent seven years in the city’s premier Italian restaurant Galileo with Chef Roberto Donna. At Galileo, Chef Gray became the restaurant’s first and only American chef de cuisine. During his tenure as chef de cuisine, Galileo won the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Restaurant.

Chef Donna encouraged Chef Gray to continue developing his culinary skills. Chef Donna assisted Gray in getting stages in the same Northern Italian restaurants where Donna himself once had trained. Gray was fortunate enough to land one of the last stages with the famous Jean-Louis Palladin at the Watergate. Always seeking to improve his culinary development, Chef Gray continues to stage in the kitchens of his contemporaries including Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud.

Since opening his first restaurant, Equinox, in 1999 with his wife Ellen, Gray has received accolades from his peers and reviewers. He has been nominated three times for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Mid-Atlantic region. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington has nominated Gray four times for their Chef of the Year award. The Washington Post and Washingtonian consistently rank Equinox as one of D.C.’s best restaurants. And his sophisticated, seasonal menu has started a culinary renaissance in our nation’s capital.

For the past three years, the Grays have co-chaired Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation fundraiser to fight hunger. They also support the Washington Humane Society, marine conservation programs and other philanthropic causes. They’re especially proud of their son Harrison.