Executive Chef Danny Grant unleashes his distinct style of hospitality on Chicago’s Gold Coast at Maple & Ash, an expansive, design-forward destination for luscious steakhouse fare rooted in French technique and uninhibited creativity. Throwing caution to the wind, Grant melds tradition and adventure to curate an innovative selection of steakhouse mainstays, fresh seafood, and market-sourced vegetables roasted on the open hearth.
While maintaining lofty culinary standards, Grant encourages a fun, lively atmosphere in both the kitchen and the dining room. Often found mingling throughout dinner service, he sees presence and interaction as important as intriguing cuisine in creating a memorable dining experience. “The night begins as soon as the guest enters, when we ‘hug’ them with warm hospitality,” he says. “We’re excited to have you—kick back and relax, because you’re in for a show.”
Grant’s culinary ambitions took hold at a young age, and he gained experience in various restaurant kitchens around Long Island, NY as a teenager. During the burgeoning culinarian’s final years of high school, his family moved to Scottsdale, AZ where he secured the role of chef de partie at the local Bistro Provence in early 2000. After honing his skills for a year and a half, he left to join Elements Restaurant at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort.
In 2003, Grant relocated to Chicago to join North Pond Restaurant as chef de tournant, learning from Executive Chef Bruce Sherman how to treat and cook quality products using refined culinary techniques. Though he left in 2006 to cook abroad in Paris and attend The French Pastry School, he came back to Chicago to serve as sous chef for NoMI Restaurant, and returned to North Pond in 2007 as chef de cuisine.
Grant’s career dropped into high gear in 2009, when he became executive chef for RIA and Balsan Restaurants at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago (previously the Elysian Hotel), at which his respective French and European bistro menus earned him Food & Wine’s “2012 Best New Chef” award. Additional recognition came in the form of two Michelin stars for RIA in 2011 and 2012, as well as perfect four-star reviews from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine.
Prior to joining the leadership team of Maple & Ash, Grant spent two years in Florida where he launched 1826 Restaurant and Lounge in Miami Beach. Back in Chicago, he calls on seasoned culinary techniques and a knack for amusing hospitality to deliver thrilling and engaging Gold Coast dining experiences.