Chef Danny Trace - Biography

June 2011

Chef Danny Trace is as comfortable preparing four-star meals in the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants as his father was in the family kitchen and his grandfather and uncle behind military stovetops. Growing up just outside New Orleans, Trace spent countless hours with his extended family enjoying outdoor sports on land and sea: hunting, fishing, crabbing, and crawfishing. The thrill of turning the daily catch into a fresh, savory meal became Trace’s passion, landing him in the culinary arts program at the esteemed Johnson & Wales University.

As Chef Trace tells it, his “real” education came first-hand in the bustling kitchen of Commander’s Palace, the acclaimed culinary landmark of the Brennan’s Family of Restaurants. Trace perfected his skills under Chef Jamie Shannon and mentor Ella Brennan, who dubbed Chef Trace “the complete package.” Taking Commander’s Palace into broadcast viewers’ homes, Trace was the witty on-air cohort on “Off the Menu,” the restaurant’s hunting and cooking show that enjoyed a popular five-year run. Meanwhile, Trace expanded his knowledge outdoors by interacting with farmers and producers, heading offshore with commercial fisherman, and hunting with wild game professionals.

A decade into his career, Chef Trace and his family retreated to nearby Texas to escape Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed Trace’s home in its entirety. Ever loyal to the Brennan family, however, Trace returned to New Orleans to take the Executive Chef reins of the joie de vivre hub Café Adelaide, which celebrated its post-hurricane reopening on Thanksgiving Day 2005. 2008 took Trace to the new Commander’s Palace and the On the Rocks Bar in Destin, Texas. His signature haute Creole cuisine, influenced by Louisiana roots and touches of Floribbean flair, quickly established the restaurant as a culinary paradise in Florida’s vacation hot spot.