Clay Conley

CLAY T. CONLEY

Chef/Owner, The Ember Group

Buccan, Imoto, Grato, The Sandwich Shop at Buccan, Chateau Miami (2020)

Chef Clay Conley has been working his way around the kitchen since he started washing dishes at age 13. Raised in rural Maine, in a 19t h century home heated only by wood fire, Conley’s childhood was defined by raising farm animals...

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CLAY T. CONLEY

Chef/Owner, The Ember Group

Buccan, Imoto, Grato, The Sandwich Shop at Buccan, Chateau Miami (2020)

Chef Clay Conley has been working his way around the kitchen since he started washing dishes at age 13. Raised in rural Maine, in a 19t h century home heated only by wood fire, Conley’s childhood was defined by raising farm animals and growing seasonal produce, which instilled his love of fresh, seasonal ingredients and the full-flavored, wood fired dishes that have become his signature as a chef.

Conley moved to Boston after college to work for Todd English, ultimately serving as the celebrity chef’s culinary director, overseeing 18 restaurants around the world. Upon his return to South Florida, Conley received accolades for his tenure as Executive Chef at Azul in the Mandarin Oriental Miami, before relocating to Palm Beach to open his first chef-helmed venture –Buccan – in 2011. The modern American restaurant, which continues to be one of the island’s toughest reservations, focuses on complex yet balanced small plates, and is credited with revolutionizing the Palm Beach dining scene. Chef-driven cuisine in a sophisticated, relaxed atmosphere was a new phenomenon on the island, and Conley followed Buccan’s success with Imoto (“little sister”), a Japanese/Asian concept next door inspired by his time living in Tokyo. In 2016, Conley opened Grato, a neighborhood Italian concept in West Palm Beach, which features a wood-burning oven, grill and rotisserie. He is currently working on a new venture, Chateau Miami, to open early 2021.

Five-time nominee for a James Beard Award as a “Best Chef in America: South,” Conley and his restaurants have been recognized in national and international publications including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, NY Post, Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveler, Miami Herald, Complot, Boston Globe, Fodor’s and USA Today. Buccan has been praised by F orbes as one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach and has received “Best Restaurant” honors from all area publications. Clay has also cooked on Emeril’s Florida, featured on both the Food Network and Cooking Channel, PBS’s The Victory Garden, The Today Show and Fox and Friends.

The Ember Group, founded by Conley, Sam Slattery and Piper Quinn, is a family-owned and operated Palm Beach-based brand. Together, they bring collective experience of more than 50 years in the hospitality industry in various disciplines, including culinary arts, restaurant operations, restaurant development, business marketing, finance, and marketplace analysis.

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