Executive Chef Mike Ellis brings regionally inspired creative vision to his leadership of Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C. Having assisted in the opening of the restaurant as Sous Chef, Mike’s homecoming and inaugural menus are greatly informed by his experiences crafting locally focused and seasonal ingredients in some of America’s most prestigious kitchens.
Born and bred 20 miles north of Washington D.C in Olney, Maryland, Mike started working in restaurants at age 12, initially as a dishwasher and then moving onto the line, taking night shifts while surfing during the day during summers at the Jersey Shore. Mike began cooking full time, honing his technique and learning about local ingredients and seafood while being inspired by his family’s own palette of hybrid Italian-Filipino flavors. After cooking at The Watergate Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton, Mike joined the team at Charlie Palmer Steak in 2004 as Sous Chef under Top Chef runner-up Bryan Voltaggio, executing the restaurant’s distinctive American menu. In 2005, this East Coaster relocated to California as part of the team of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen under Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio. Following his promotion to Executive Chef and creation of the hyper-seasonal menu, Dry Creek Kitchen was awarded a 2006 Michelin Star and inclusion in San Francisco Chronicle's 2007 Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants. Mike’s knowledge of local and seasonal dishes informed his tenure at Cetrella, where he opened the second location of the California coastal concept.
In 2016, Mike returned to the East Coast with his three children with the opportunity to share his own childhood with them, whether in the form of walks along the Mall or homemade ravioli with family. Mike brings this fondness for the surrounding region to his cooking, showcasing and respecting the local produce and proteins of his youth in his culinary home at Charlie Palmer Steak.