Mark Peel (chef)

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Mark Peel
Mark-Peel profile-pic.jpg
Pasadena, California
EducationB.S., Hotel and Restaurant Management, Cal Poly Pomona
Culinary career

Mark Peel is a James Beard Foundation Award-winning and nominated chef,[1] hailing from California. A fourth generation Angeleno, he was mentored by culinary luminaries Wolfgang Puck, Jonathan Waxman, and Alice Waters. Peel is recognized as one of the founding chefs of California Cuisine. “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.”[2] Several of his mentored "graduates" went on to create restaurants of their own.


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’ landmark Campanile restaurant with Nancy Silverton (his wife at that time) and Manfred Krankl. "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.[3] 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."[4] 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.[5] Peel also helmed The Tar Pit.

Peel has authored three cookbooks (two[6] with ex-wife Nancy Silverton). His cookbook, New Classic Family Dinners, written with Martha Rose Shulman [7] 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[8] and twice as a judge Top Chef in 2009 and 2010,[9] and appeared on several iterations of Hell’s Kitchen, Knife Fight[10], 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 steeped in bold flavor and fresh, seasonal ingredients located in Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.[11] Prawn Coastal was initially launched as "Bombo" in 2015, and was re-branded in 2017. Building upon the skills and knowledge acquired through his career, Peel designed Prawn Coastal as a way to bring sustainable, healthy food to a much larger audience by curating its supply chain, and reducing costs by stripping away the frills and focusing on the food.[12] Chef Mark Peel’s desire to contribute to the renaissance of downtown Los Angeles was a significant factor in choosing the Grand Central Market to launch his new restaurant.

Awards and Honors[edit]

Over the past twenty years, both the Campanile Restaurant and its Executive Chef, Mark Peel[13], have received numerous awards, including:

  • The James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Restaurant Award - 2001"[14]
  • The "Los Angeles Culinary Master of the Year"
  • Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs"

Peel's Campanile restaurant was also nominated for the James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Wine Service Award," its "Best California Chef Award" and "Outstanding Restaurant Award - 2008."

  • 2012 Honored by the Los Angeles City Council for contributions to the LA food scene and charitable work.
  • 2008 James Beard, nominated for Outstanding Restaurant Award - USA
  • 2005 California Restaurant Association, Chef of the Year
  • 2004 International Star Diamond Award for Outstanding Hospitality
  • 2004 James Beard, nominated for Best Chef, California
  • 2004 James Beard, nominated for Outstanding Wine Service
  • 2003 James Beard, nominated for Outstanding Service
  • 2002 James Beard, nominated for Best Chef, California
  • 2002 James Beard, nominated for Outstanding Service
  • 2001 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Award – USA
  • 2001 James Beard, nominated for Best Chef, California
  • 1997 DiRoNA, Distinguished Restaurant of North America
  • 1996 Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Award
  • 1996 James Beard, nominated for Best Chef, California
  • 1995 Southern California Restaurant Writers, Restaurateur of the Year & Restaurant of the Year
  • 1995 James Beard, nominated for Best Chef, California
  • 1990 James Beard, nominated for Best Chef, California
  • 1990 Food & Wine Magazine, Best New Chefs

Personal life[edit]

Mark Peel is married to comedian Daphne Brogdon. Mark and Daphne have two children. From 1984 to 2004, Peel was married to pastry chef Nancy Silverton with whom he has three children. Earlier, from 1979 to 1982, Peel was married to the artist Reine River.

While at Spago, Mark 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.[15] During the Writer’s Strike in late 2007 to early 2008, Peel created a “Writer’s Soup Kitchen” every Wednesday at Campanile[16] to offer discounted meals to his customers who were affected by the strike.[17]

In 2013, the New York Times chose to profile Mark Peel when writing an 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.”[18]

Peel lost money in the Madoff investment scandal through Stanley Chais, who collected "feeder funds" for Bernie Madoff.[19][20]

Mark Peel's community involvement also includes active fundraising for culinary scholarships,[21] for schools in Los Angeles and for political campaigns. His service to the community has been recognized by the Los Angeles Police Department.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peel, Mark. "Campanile Restaurant and Chef Recognition". James Beard Foundation.
  2. ^ "Six degrees of Campanile chefs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  3. ^ Hallock, Betty. "Campanile closing to make way for new bistro". Internet Archive. Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Gold, Jonathan. "Campanile closing? The dining scene loses a standard-setter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  5. ^ Parsons, Russ. "Nancy Silverton looks back at 25 years of La Brea Bakery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton cookbooks".
  7. ^ "Review: New Classic Family Dinners". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Mark Peel - Top Chef Masters". Top Chef Masters. Bravo TV. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Archived 2012-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Venison, Venison, Venison - Knife Fight". youtube. Esquire Network.
  11. ^ Guinto, Reach. "Top Chef Mark Peel Navigates Making Fine Dining Quality Seafood More Accessible To The Masses". FoodBeast. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "How to Put the Fine in Fast Casual". TEDx Talks. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Mark Peel Chef Profile". Cook Eat Share. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  14. ^ Parsons, Russ. "L.A.'s Campanile Wins James Beard Award". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "Chef Mark Peel's Lobster Bisque Proceeds Going to St. Vincent's". CBS Los Angeles. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Campanile soup kitchen". LA Times Blog. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Chu, Lenora. "Opening the 'soup kitchen' for writers". Marketplace. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Karen Stabiner (August 24, 2013). "For a Chef, 41 Years in the Kitchen Takes Its Toll". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  19. ^ Whitcomb, Dan. "Stanley Chais: L.A. agent for Bernie Madoff?". U.S. Retrieved 10 December 2018. Daphne Brogdon, who said she lost her entire $80,000 IRA after investing it with Chais... She said she saw the statements her husband, restaurateur Mark Peel, was getting from his investments with Chais, which reflected returns of 8 percent to 10 percent when most investors were only breaking even or losing money.
  20. ^ "Madoff's Victims Are Close To Getting Their $19 Billion Back". Retrieved 10 December 2018. Brogdon said she and her husband finally started getting money back just this year thanks to a $15 million settlement between Chais’s estate and California authorities in 2016.
  21. ^ "ExperienceHaute Couture and Cuisine at Fashion Week El Paseo". City of Palm Desert. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  22. ^ "In Recognition of National Volunteer Appreciation Month". Los Angeles Police Department. Retrieved 21 March 2019.