Kelly’s passion for cooking began when he moved with his family to the island of Mauritius off of the coast of South Africa, when he was young. The New York native would try to recreate familiar American dishes with his brother, using local ingredients. After studying at the American Academy of Independent Studies in Emmaus, PA, Kelly began working at restaurants all over the country, where he gained an appreciation of the different kinds of cuisine in the United States.
As chef de cuisine at Ember Grille/Bar 10 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC, Kelly obtained a deeper understanding of working at an onsite restaurant in a hotel. He also worked at Peter James Townhouse in Charlotte and Rubicon in San Francisco. Kelly joined Orchids at Palm Court in 2006, soon taking over menu development for all dining outlets at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.
Throughout his career, Kelly has earned numerous awards and honors. In 2011, Kelly won the American Culinary Federation USA Chef of the Year and is one of only six Hilton Signature Chefs in the United States. Under Kelly’s direction, Orchids at Palm Court has been named a Forbes Four-Star Restaurant for four consecutive years, a Best Restaurant by Cincinnati Magazine, and named “One of the Top 100 Best Restaurants” by OpenTable for six consecutive years, including 2014’s ranking as No. 7 Best in the U.S.
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