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Mark Peel (chef)

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Mark Peel is a chef and restaurateur in California. Campanile, a restaurant owned by Peel and his former wife Nancy Silverton, won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2001. Peel specializes in California cuisine.


In October 1975, Peel began as an apprentice under Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison. In 1978, Peel did an estage stint in France at La Tour d'Argent, Potel et Chabot, and Moulin de Mougins. When Michael's opened in 1979 in Santa Monica, he became sous chef, first under Ken Frank and then under Jonathan Waxman. In 1980, Peel moved to Alice Waters' Chez Panisse to make pastries, then assumed the role of chef de cuisine at the original Spago in 1981.
In 1989, Peel co-founded Los Angeles’ Campanile restaurant with Nancy Silverton, his wife at that time. "The storied restaurant, with its distinctly American approach using top-quality farmers' market ingredients, helped set the tone for Los Angeles dining in the 1990s," wrote Betty Hallock. For more than two decades Peel served as Executive Chef at Campanile, where food critic Jonathan Gold observed that "... Peel is still the most exacting grill chef in the country, a master who plays his smoldering logs the way that Pinchas Zukerman does a Stradivarius." Campanile closed in 2012. To provide the breads they needed, Peel and Silverton also co-founded La Brea Bakery, which opened five months before Campanile restaurant launched. La Brea Bakery was sold in 2001 and is now a worldwide company. Peel's Tar Pit, a cocktail lounge, and Point, a deli, also closed in 2012.
Peel has authored three cookbooks (two with ex-wife Nancy Silverton). His cookbook, New Classic Family Dinners, written with Martha Rose Shulman was selected as one of the Top Ten Cookbooks of 2009 by Amazon and one of the Top 25 Cookbooks of 2009 by Food & Wine magazine. Though Peel is known for his Mediterranean fare, the book is a collection of his favorite traditional American cuisine recipes.
Mark Peel has appeared twice as a contestant on Top Chef Masters and twice as a judge Top Chef in 2009 and 2010, and appeared on several iterations of Hell's Kitchen, Knife Fight, and Kitchen Nightmares. On occasion, he joins programs on the Food Network, Hallmark Network and others to demonstrate food preparations.
Chef Peel's most recent venture is Prawn Coastal, a casual broth-based seafood concept located in Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. Prawn Coastal was initially launched as Bomba in 2015, and was re-branded in 2017.
The Los Angeles Times said, “For more than 20 years, Campanile has played an important role in shaping the cuisine of Southern California and beyond, not just through its menu but also through the many graduates of its kitchen.” Several of his mentees went on to create restaurants of their own.
In 2013, Peel was profiled in a New York Times article about the long term effects of being a chef. His long career as a chef has taken a significant physical toll. The article states “Those 41 years in the kitchen have brought him considerable fame: Campanile won the James Beard award as outstanding restaurant in the United States in 2001. They have also brought him carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists and thoracic outlet syndrome in his shoulders, resulting from repetitive stirring, fine knife movements and heavy lifting.”


While at Spago, Peel helped to organize the first three Food & Wine Festival fundraisers for St Vincent's Meals on Wheels and continues to be a consistent supporter of St. Vincent's efforts. During the Writer's Strike in late 2007 to early 2008, Peel created a “Writer’s Soup Kitchen” every Wednesday at Campanile to offer discounted meals to his customers who were affected by the strike.
Mark Peel's community involvement also includes active fundraising for culinary scholarships, for schools in Los Angeles and for political campaigns. His service to the community has been recognized by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Awards and Honors

Campanile Restaurant and Peel have received numerous awards, including:
  • The "Los Angeles Culinary Master of the Year"
  • 2012 Honored by the Los Angeles City Council for contributions to the LA food scene and charitable work.
  • 2005 California Restaurant Association, Chef of the Year
  • 2004 International Star Diamond Award for Outstanding Hospitality
  • 2001 The James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Award
  • 1997 DiRoNA, Distinguished Restaurant of North America
  • 1996 Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Award
  • 1995 Southern California Restaurant Writers, Restaurateur of the Year & Restaurant of the Year
  • 1990 Food & Wine Magazine, Best New Chefs

Personal life

From 1979 to 1982, Peel was married to the artist Reine River. From 1984 to 2004, Peel was married to Silverton with whom he has three children. Peel is married to comedian Daphne Brogdan. They have two children.
Peel lost money in the Madoff investment scandal through Stanley Chais, who collected "feeder funds" for Bernie Madoff.

See also

  • List of American restaurateurs
  • American cuisine
  • California cuisine

Category:American chefs
Category:American male chefs
Category:Living people
Category:1954 births

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