Despite often working close to home, Chef Todd Gray has a
world of experience in the kitchen. Chef Gray uses techniques learned
from mentors such as Jean-Louis Palladin and Roberto Donna to enhance
the flavor of regional seafood and produce. His sophisticated, seasonal
menu has started a culinary renaissance in our nation’s capital.
A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Chef Todd 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, Chef 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
Chef Donna encouraged Chef Gray to continue developing his culinary
skills. Chef Donna assisted Chef Gray in getting stages in the same
Northern Italian restaurants where Chef Donna himself once had trained.
Also, Chef 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
Since opening his first restaurant, Equinox, in 1999 with his wife
Ellen, Chef 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 Chef 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.
Since 2001, Chef Gray has been Culinary Director for the International
Trade Center in the Ronald Reagan Building.
The Grays consulted with the Sports Club, LA - Washington, DC on
the opening of food service operations. 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. The Grays are especially proud of their four-year-old son
Harrison, who can sometimes be found finger-painting in the restaurant,
when not helping his dad teach cooking classes for kids.