Seven and a half years ago, at age 28, Charlie Palmer opened his first restaurant, Aureole, at 34 East 61Street in New York. It was a culmination of years of cooking, training and creating. As chef/owner of Aureole, the now 36 year-old chef has brought into being his personal vision of a great contemporary restaurant - one with relaxed atmosphere, great service and highly creative food.
The success of Palmer's vision has been dramatic. He has put together a close knit team of professionals, including Sous Chef Richar Lo Puzzo and Pastry Chef Dan Rundell, both of whom are rising stars in their own right. In its seven and a half years, Aureole has become a veritable New York institution with a worldwide reputation for its progressive American cuisine. The restaurant received 3-stars from The New York Times in June 1991 and is ranked as one of the tope 25 restaurants in America by DiRoma. The Zagat Survey for New York City consistently rates Aureole as #1 in the city for American cuisine and the survey's founder, Tim Zagat, calls Palmer "One of the great chefs in America today".
Palmer has enjoyed success at all the restaurants with which he has been associated. In September 1990, he opened Chefs Cuisiners Club restaurant in New York where suppliers were encouraged to conduct afternoon demonstrations and tastings of their products. In October 1994, Palmer re-christened the CC Club Alva, modifying the decor to mirror the changing Flatiron District scene and revising the menu to feature sophisticated American dining based on classic homestyle cooking from around the world. With his partner, Fernando Saralegui, he has brought new atmosphere to this comfortable spot.
Palmer began his career as a high school student in Smyrna, up-state New York. He went on to hone his skills at the renowned Culinary Institute of America after which he joined the team that successfully re-opened La Cote Basque, (the first time), under Jean-Jacques Rachou. Three years later, Palmer left La Cote Basque to become chef at the Waccabuc Country Club in Westchester County, New York. Palmer saw this move as a perfect opportunity to run his own kitchen, create his own dishes and explore his interest in American food. Within the first year, Palmer had further refined his skills and style, Waccabuc's bland country club food was transformed , and the restaurant was making a healthy profit.
In 1983, Micheal O'Keefe hired Palmer as the executive chef at The River Cafe in Brooklyn, New York. Once again, Palmer initiated new and original ideas to stamp his mark on the restaurant with 70 percent of its produce along with the majority of its other staples. Palmer increased profits and raised the restaurant's rating, from one to three stars, as reviewed by Bryan Miller of The New York Times.
Palmer continues to seek further growth and challenges. He has authored his first cookbook, due to be published by Random House in the fall of 1995, and he is a partner with Jonathan White in the Egg Farm Dairy, an upstate New York creamery producing butter and wild ripened cheese. A year ago he added Stonekelly flower-shop to his expanding range of business interests. His partners, florists Jen Stone and Don Kelly, are responsible for Aureole's, and now Lenox Room's towering fresh-cut flower arrangements.
In May 1995 Palmer released the first vintage of Aureole Cuvee, a sparkling wine blended and labeled exclusively for Aureole restaurant by his friends and vinters, the Sterling-Tancer family, at Californian vineyard Iron Horse. From restaurant management to product development to cookbook authorship, Palmer strives for a future filled with further food successes for his customers and himself.