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Star Chef Todd Gray on StarChefs


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 Mid-Atlantic Restaurant.

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 Daniel Boulud.

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.