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Curtis Duffy

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Curtis Lee Duffy (born 1975) is an American chef and restaurateur who has won awards for his fine-dining restaurants in Chicago.[1] He also was the subject of the 2015 documentary “For Grace.”[2]

His latest restaurant, Ever, opened in July 2020 in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.[3] Ever was awarded two stars in the 2021 Michelin Guide. [4] In its announcement Michelin said: "Chef’s vision of fine dining enchants palates with complex flavors, stirring textures and visual fireworks."[5]

Duffy's previous Chicago restaurant, Grace, earned two stars in the 2014 Michelin Guide and three stars in the 2015-2018 Michelin Guides. From 2015 to 2018, Grace and Alinea were the only Chicago restaurants with three Michelin stars.[6]

In 2013, the Robb Report named Grace the best restaurant in the world.[7][8] The James Beard Foundation named Duffy Best Chef, Great Lakes in 2016.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Duffy was born in Newark, Ohio, and lived in Colorado Springs, Colo., until age 12, when the family moved to Johnstown, Ohio.[1]

He became interested in cooking in his mandatory 6th grade home economics class at Adams Middle School.[10] In Johnstown. Duffy graduated from Licking County Joint Vocational School in 1994 and then attended Columbus State Community College, where he earned his associate degree in applied science in 1999.[10]

Duffy worked in the restaurants of The Country Club of Muirfield Village[11] in Dublin, Ohio, while attending high school and culinary school.[1] He also was chef de cuisine at Tartan Fields Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. [1]


Duffy moved to Chicago at the end of 1999 to work for Chef Charlie Trotter. [1] He worked at Charlie Trotter’s for three years as a chef de partie and in the front of the house.[12]

In 2003, he moved to Trio in Evanston, to work with Chef Grant Achatz and worked as pastry chef at Trio from 2003 to 2004.[13]

Duffy left Trio with Achatz to start Alinea in Chicago, in 2005.[14] He was chef de cuisine at Alinea for three years.[15]

Duffy left Alinea in 2009 to become executive chef at Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel Chicago. [1] It was at that restaurant that Duffy met Michael Muser, with whom he would later build two restaurants, Grace and Ever.[16] Avenues at the Peninsula earned two Michelin stars in 2010 under Chef Duffy, and in 2011 Duffy left to build a new restaurant. [1]

Duffy and Muser opened Grace in Chicago’s West Loop in December 2012. [17] The building and opening of Grace was documented in the 2015 documentary “For Grace,” which debuted on Netflix in 2016. “For Grace” also recounts the story of Duffy’s turbulent childhood, including the murder-suicide of his parents in 1994.[18]

After one year of operation, Grace earned two stars in the 2014 Michelin Guide.[19] Grace under Chef Duffy was elevated to three stars in the 2015 Michelin Guide guide and retained its three-Michelin-star rating in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 guides.[20] [21] Duffy left Grace in 2017, and the restaurant subsequently closed in December 2017.[22][23]

In June 2019, Chef Duffy and Michael Muser announced that they would open a new restaurant in Chicago called Ever in spring of 2020.[24] Delayed a few months by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ever opened on July 28, 2020.[25] It was forced to close for indoor dining November 2020-January 2021 when the City of Chicago ordered an indoor-dining ban for all restaurants due to the pandemic.[26] Ever reopened for indoor dining Feb. 16, 2021.[27]

During the three-month indoor dining shutdown, Duffy launched a take-out burger concept called Reve Burger.[28] Reve is Ever spelled backward.[29] Duffy decided to continue Reve, and in early 2021, moved the burger operation into its own kitchen across the street from Ever.[30][31]

Chef Duffy was inducted into the Disciples Escoffier International in November 2016, and sits on the advisory board of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary arts.[32] A $25,000 scholarship in his name is awarded.[33]

Personal Life[edit]

Duffy married Jennifer Duffy in 2019.[34] He has two daughters, Ava and Eden, from his first marriage, and two stepchildren, Van and Jolie.[35]


Food & Wine Magazine, Best Innovative Pastry Chef, 2004[36]

Jean Banchet Awards, Celebrity Chef of the Year, 2010[37]

Star Chefs, Rising Star Award, 2011[38]

Forbes Travel Guide, Five Star Rating, 2015-2018[39][40][41]

Michelin Guide, 2 Michelin stars, 2010 (Avenues)[42]

Jean Banchet Awards, Best Chef, 2013[43]

Eater National, Chef of the Year, 2013[44]

Chicago Tribune, Chef of the Year, 2014[45]

Michelin Guide, 2 Michelin Stars, 2014 (Grace)[46]

Michelin Guide, 3 Michelin Stars, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (Grace)[20][21]

James Beard Foundation Awards – Best Chef, Great Lakes, 2016[47]

AAA Five Diamond Awards, Five Diamond Rating, 2015 - 2018 (Grace)[48]

La Liste - Best New Arrivals of the Year, 2021 (Ever)[49]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Pang, Kevin. "His Saving Grace". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. "For Grace, a film by Kevin Pang & Mark Helenowski". For Grace. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  3. Di Nunzio, Miriam (21 July 2020). "Chef Curtis Duffy makes his dream a reality with opening of Ever". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  4. Noel, Josh. "3 Chicago restaurants pick up 2021 Michelin stars, including 2 stars each for newcomers Ever and Moody Tongue". Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  5. Moore, Evan F. (2021-04-29). "Three Chicago restaurants receive their first Michelin stars". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2021-09-24.
  6. Burton, Monica (20 October 2017). "Alinea and Grace Are Still Chicago's Only Three-Michelin Starred Restaurants". Eater. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  7. Busico, Michalene. "Best of the best 2013: Dining: Grace". Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  8. "International Chef Showcase: 4 Hands Curtis Duffy of three-starred Grace, Chicago x Luke Armstrong of one-starred Bacchanalia, Singapore". 28 June 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  9. Di Nunzio, Miriam (3 May 2016). "Chicago's Alinea, Curtis Duffy win 2016 James Beard Awards". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Stallings, Beth (8 February 2016). ""For Grace" tells Chef Curtis Duffy's triumphant story". Columbus Monthly. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  11. "Chef Curtis Duffy - biography". StarChefs. August 2010. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. Gerzina, Daniel (5 November 2013). "Matthias Merges, Curtis Duffy Reflect on Charlie Trotter". Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  13. "Curtis Duffy". Star Chefs. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  14. "Chicago gourmet - bio: Curtis Duffy". Illinois Restaurant Association. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  15. Gebert, Michael (19 November 2013). "Next's Achatz retrospective—and Curtis Duffy's alternate history". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  16. Bendersky, Ari (14 May 2012). "ichael Muser Leaving Peninsula to Join Curtis Duffy as Wine Director/GM at Grace". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  17. "Curtis Duffy Opens the Refined New Grace". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2021-09-24.
  18. "Ten-hour standoff at home results in homicide-suicide". Daily Kent Stater. 14 September 1994. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  19. Gerzina, Daniel (12 November 103). "2014 Michelin Guide Chicago Star Ratings Unleashed". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Vettel, Phil (11 November 2014). "Grace gets a third Michelin star; Alinea repeats". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Sutton, Ryan (27 October 2015). "The 2016 Chicago Michelin Guide's Big Winners Are Acadia, Parachute, Dusek's". Chicago Eater. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  22. Severson, Kim (20 December 2017). "Two Founders Quit Grace, an Acclaimed Chicago Restaurant". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  23. Vettel, Phil (21 December 2017). "Grace closes after exits of Curtis Duffy, Michael Muser". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  24. Nierenberg, Amelia (24 June 2019). "The Chef Curtis Duffy Plans His Next Chicago Restaurant". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  25. Hutson, Wendell (27 July 2020). "Curtis Duffy's new fine-dining restaurant opens, COVID be damned". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  26. Selvam, Ashok (27 October 2020). "Chicago Halts Indoor Dining Once Again". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  27. Waxman, Naomi (25 January 2021). "Many Chicago Restaurants Keep Dining Rooms Closed With COVID-19 Variant Worries". Ever Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  28. Selvam, Ashok (10 December 2020). "Chef Curtis Duffy Launches Fast-Food Burger Virtual Restaurant". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  29. Arseneau, Jordan (3 March 2021). "3 Michelin-starred Chicago chef Curtis Duffy opens ghost kitchen serving burgers and fries". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  30. Lee, Dennis (9 March 2021). "Those "Cosmic Wings" you're eating are just Applebee's". The Takeout. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  31. Wax, Naomi (16 April 2021). "Parachute's New Virtual Pizzeria and Seven More Chicago Restaurant Openings to Know". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  32. Olsen, Morgan (23 November 2016). "If you watched 'For Grace' on Netflix, this will give you all the feels". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  33. "2019 Chef Curtis Duffy Scholarship" (PDF). Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  34. Jordan, Candace. "Chicago Lights: An art exhibit that's all heart". Candid Candace. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  35. Schnitzler, Nicole (3 January 2018). "One-on-One With Former Grace Chef Curtis Duffy". Better. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  36. "Curtis Duffy". Four Magazine. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  37. Bendersky, Ari (31 Jan 2011). "Alinea, Curtis Duffy, Bristol Win Big at Jean Banchet Awards". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  38. "2011 Chicago Rising Stars Award Winners and Why They Shine". Star Chefs. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  39. Ryan, Libby (16 March 2016). "2016 James Beard Awards Finalists Named". Forbes Travel Guide. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  40. "International Chef Showcase". Michelin Guide. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  41. "Chef Curtis Duffy". Great Gastro. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  42. Pang, Kevin (11 December 2011). "From Avenues to Grace: Curtis Duffy's new West Loop restaurant is "all about grace"". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  43. Vettel, Phil (31 January 2014). "Grace a big winner at Jean Banchet Awards". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  44. Hickman, Brett (22 November 2013). "The Year of Curtis Duffy and Grace". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  45. Vettel, Phil; Pang, Kevin; Noel, Josh. "Chicago Tribune 2014 Dining Awards". Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  46. Gerzina, Daniel (12 November 2013). "2014 Michelin Guide Chicago Star Ratings Unleashed". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  47. "Awards Search". James Beard Foundation. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  48. Vettel, Phil (16 January 2015). "Alinea, Grace among Chicago's six five-diamond winners". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  49. "Awards 2021". La Liste. Retrieved 23 April 2021.

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