Gary Danko

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Gary Danko
Gary Danko Massachusetts.jpg
EducationThe Culinary Institute of America
Culinary career
Cooking styleFrench, Mediterranean, and American

Gary Danko is an American chef. He combines French, Mediterranean, and American styles into his cooking. He is best known for his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, California.

Early life[edit]

Danko was born in Massena, New York, his father was a Hungarian immigrant. His grandmother was Jewish and he grew up with Hungarian cooking with Jewish overtones.[1]

Culinary development[edit]

Danko started cooking at the local Village Inn restaurant at age 14. By the time he graduated high school, he had been exposed to every position in the restaurant.[2] Danko completed his culinary education at the Hyde Park, New York campus of the Culinary Institute of America. He relocated to San Francisco in 1977 and worked as a waiter at the Waterfront Restaurant. Chef Danko returned to New York to enroll in Madeleine Kamman's class at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School in 1983. In 1985, Danko became the executive chef at Beringer Vineyards. He later became the executive chef at Chateau Souverain in Sonoma County. In 1992 Danko left to become the chef of the Terrace restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco. He was then appointed the executive chef of the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, S.F.Ritz-Carlton. Gary opened his eponymous restaurant in 1999, and has won numerous awards, including a Michelin star first awarded in 2007.


In 1999, Danko created his own restaurant, named for himself, near Fisherman's Wharf. Gary Danko has also made appearances as the featured chef on the Food Network and PBS. Restaurant Gary Danko has been a recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award since 2001.[3] In 2002, the restaurant was designated one of 18 Relais & Chateaux properties in North America.[citation needed]


Diners select from three, four or five prix-fixe menu courses. Danko's signature dishes include roast Maine lobster with white corn, tarragon, and chanterelles, pancetta wrapped frog legs with garlic purée, and roasted quail stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras. Most dishes are served year round, but ingredients are adjusted seasonally to emphasize local produce. Before it was banned in California, in late spring 2012, Danko's seared foie gras was paired with Bing cherries, but in early fall, with roast figs.[citation needed] It was returned to the menu recently, and now comes as Salt Cured Foie Gras Torchon with Pear Compote, Spiced Walnuts and Country Bread.

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Organization Category
1995 James Beard Foundation Best Chef-California
1999 Esquire Magazine Best New Restaurant
1999 Mobil Travel Guide First "Five Star" rating
2000 James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant
2000 San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year
2002 James Beard Foundation Award Nominated Outstanding Chef of the Year
2002 Relais & Chateaux Relais & Chateaux property
2007 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2007 Zagat Survey Top Restaurant
2008 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2012 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2013 James Beard Foundation Award Nominated Outstanding Chef of the Year
2013 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2014 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2015 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2016 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2017 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2018 Michelin Guide One Star Rating
2019 Michelin Guide One Star Rating[4]


  1. ^ "Top". Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  2. ^ "Meet Gary Danko". Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  3. ^ "Restaurant Gary Danko". Wine Spectator. January 1, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "San Francisco Bay Area's Michelin Stars Announced for 2019, Again". June 3, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

External links[edit]