Born in Yonkers, New York, tenth in a line of 12 children, Peter Kelly began working in local restaurants at 14 years old. He wasn’t set on a culinary career, but while studying Business Administration at Marist College, he held a number of kitchen and front-of-house positions. It was enough to drive him to France, in pursuit of a budding passion and career.
At 23, the chef opened Xaviar's in Garrison, New York. From that first venture, Kelly went on to open Xaviar's at Piermont, The Freelance Cafe and Wine Bar, Restaurant X & The Bully Boy Bar, and X2O Xaviar’s on the Hudson. All of his restaurants have received praise from press and public alike, including a New York Times’ highest rating, the Mobil Travel Guide Four Star Award, and Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence.” Kelly also earned New York State’s Restaurateur of the Year in 1998. Since the early 90s, Kelly has also been a vintner. His wines at Xaviar's Cellars in Napa Valley were applauded at their 1991 introduction by both The New York Times and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Kelly has been featured in New York Magazine, Esquire, Food & Wine, USA Today, W Magazine, Food Arts, Gourmet, and Bon Appetit. Adding to this exposure was Kelly’s 2007 defeat of Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” as well as appearances on CBS, NBC, and Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” In addition to running a mini culinary empire, Kelly founded home dining business Impromptu Gourmet and Events by Xaviar’s catering company, and has worked with charities like the Nyack Hospital Pediatric Center, Red Cross Hudson Valley, Share Our Strength, and the Make a Wish Foundation.