Rising Star Chef Tony Chittum of Iron Gate - Biography

Washington, D.C.


Born on Kent Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Tony Chittum spent his youth fishing on the Chesapeake Bay where he learned from local fishermen how to prepare the native crab and rockfish. As a teenager, he worked in neighborhood eateries washing dishes and earning his allowance. When Chittum met Peter McDonaugh at a local restaurant, he realized that cooking could be a career and enrolled in a few culinary classes at Anne Arundel Community College. At 21 Chittum relocated to San Francisco where he studied under Donald Link at the Elite Café. Link exposed Chittum to the nuances of fine dining through classic French technique as well as Cajun and Creole style cooking.

In 1999, Chittum returned to the Washington, DC to work at newly opened Equinox restaurant under the tutelage of Todd Gray. Gray’s focus on seasonality and proper technique made an impression on Chittum, who quickly climbed the ranks from garde manger to sous chef and finally chef de cuisine in 2002. He left Equinox with a strong working knowledge of the business side of cooking and a newfound appreciation for local, seasonal produce. Two years later Chittum accepted an offer to join the opening team at Aria Trattoria, creating a menu that mirrored his gastronomic adventures through the Italian landscape with homemade pastas and seafood dishes. When Chittum learned of the opportunity to head the kitchens of both Dish and Notti Bianche, he leaped at the opportunity to bring innovative twists to seasonal Modern American cuisine. His dishes bring a sense of comfort and ease to fine dining while maintaining elegance.

In 2007, Chittum joined the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, where under his guidance Vermilion restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, received numerous accolades including a three-star review from the Washington Post

Recently, Chittum opened Iron Gate where he is also a partner and showcases his creative renditions of Southern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.