The Culinary Institute of America

Charlie Palmer, CIA culinary arts alumni, is a chef, restaurateur, and founder of The Charlie Palmer Group.

Spotlight On: Charlie PalmerAssociate Degree in Culinary Arts

Chef, Restaurateur, and Founder of The Charlie Palmer Group
Class of 1979
"One artisanal producer would bring all of his perfectly made goat cheese to the doorstep of our kitchen—that had a strong impact on me."

One of the most highly regarded chefs in America today, Charlie Palmer has received critical acclaim for his signature “Progressive American” cuisine, a style which reinterprets classic European cooking using American artisanal products and small farm producers.

Beginning in 1988 with the opening of Aureole in New York, Charlie has combined his creative cooking spirit with his flair for business to establish an impressive roster of restaurants across the country including Charlie Palmer’s Métrazur, which overlooks the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal in New York City; Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Charlie Palmer Steak at The Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas; and Dry Creek Kitchen, located in the Palmer-owned boutique Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma, CA. In September 2002 Charlie opened Kitchen 22, an intimate neighborhood restaurant in the Flatiron section of New York City. In addition, he owns and operates midtown Manhattan’s Astra, a café by day and impressive catering location at night and weekends. In May of 2003, he ventured into new territory once again, this time heading south, opening Charlie Palmer Steak along Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. In June of 2003, Charlie formally began presiding over the menu creations and catering of The Stirling Club at Turnberry Place, an exclusive residential community just off the Strip in Las Vegas.

Born and raised in upstate New York and classically trained at The Culinary Institute of America, Charlie Palmer first burst onto the New York dining scene in the mid-1980′s when he was named executive chef at The River Café, He soon earned a prestigious three stars from The New York Times. It was also at The River Café that Palmer hired, trained and inspired a legion of young cooks who have gone on to be some of America’s leading chefs, including Gerry Hayden, Diane Forley of Verbena, and Michael Mina of Aqua in San Francisco. At the young age of 28, Charlie opened Aureole restaurant as chef and proprietor. It was at Aureole that his signature style began to emerge. Food & Wine magazine has said of Charlie, “Palmer is widely regarded by food lovers as a pioneer who realized decades ago that there was a strong demand for great food in America, not necessarily French.” Commenting on his culinary philosophy, Charlie says, “I realized that American cuisine was just in its infancy and I spent a lot of time thinking about what the idea of American cooking really meant to me as a chef.” Palmer was highly influenced by his childhood on a farm and his time spent at Georges Blanc in France, where he says, “One artisanal producer would bring all of his perfectly made goat cheese to the doorstep of our kitchen—that had a strong impact on me.” He began to research his own small American producers and support them in an effort to use the best raw products available at Aureole, which he credits with inspiring his creativity and helping to define his style. Today, Charlie’s creativity is sparked by working with his selective team of chefs at all of his locations. “My juices really get flowing when I talk to one of our chefs about new products or a trip one of us took—we play at coming up with pages and pages of new dishes. And right now, I cook more than ever—there’s nothing like jumping behind the line and cooking with the new guy on the fish station for three hours, establishing a good rapport and having him learn to cook to the standards of my palate.”

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