Rising Star Chef Clay Conley of Buccan - Biography

Palm Beach, FL

March 2011

Chef Clay Conley started washing dishes at age 13 and fell in love with the atmosphere of the kitchen; he eventually found his way into Todd English’s kitchen, and it was all up (and around the world) from there.

During his 10 years with the Olives Group, Conley worked in Boston, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, and Tokyo, eventually becoming the culinary director for all 18 of English’s restaurants at age 29. In 2005 he moved to the Mandarin Oriental in Miami and took over Azul, the hotel’s elegant, waterfront fine dining restaurant, where he won a 2008 StarChefs.com South Florida Rising Stars Award.

At Azul, Conley drew culinary influences from his surroundings (an Indian exchange student living with him inspired his yogurt-marinated swordfish), and nearly every dish had a story behind it. Now at Buccan in Palm Beach, Conley serves casual, local fare with high technique you would expect from a hotel chef and English protégé.