Clay Conley


Chef Clay Conley got his first taste of the business at the age of thirteen in rural Maine and eventually became a protégé of renowned chef Todd English.

Working with the celebrity chef for almost a decade, Conley was introduced to the finest ingredients and foods from all over the world. He became the culinary director for all seventeen of English’s restaurants at twenty-nine.

Conley’s unique style elegantly balances the robust flavors of his New England childhood with the sophistication of Asian cuisine and the rustic allure of the Mediterranean. His subsequent work in Europe, Australia, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and South America has broadened his exposure to international cuisine, ingredients, and methods.

“The meticulous attention given to the TEALEAVES blends is extraordinary, and I am always excited to introduce their product to the guests of my restaurant. My particular favorite, however, is the earthy Gyokuro Asahi. That’s what I drink regularly at home.”

In 2005, Conley was selected by Mandarin Oriental Miami to run the kitchen at Azul, where he brought the tastes and technique from his global experience together in an innovative menu. Under Conley’s leadership, the restaurant received numerous awards and was featured in a multitude of high-profile publications, including Gourmet. Azul was named one of America’s finest restaurants by Robb Report in 2007 and received multiple AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Four-Star Awards.

Conley also brought added notoriety through his StarChef’s Rising Star Chef award and his guest appearances on leading television programs. Azul was a USA Today “Top Pick” and the revered Esquire critic John Mariani described his dishes there as “brilliant,” “dazzling,” and “glorious.”

The chef’s imaginative twists and contrasting tastes and textures are considerable parts of the menu at Buccan, his first chef-owner restaurant. In his new space, Conley focuses on his lifelong passion: to create thoughtful dishes that are stimulating to the palate and the eye in an environment that inspires easy camaraderie and delicious enjoyment by bringing part of the kitchen “experience” into the dining room.

Recommended Tea

loose leaf tea | GREEN

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