At Churchill Downs, Executive Chef David Danielson and his team celebrate the vibrant flavors of the South, fashioning them into inventive and exciting recipes which take cues from current food trends and seasonal produce. Inspired by the rich history of the venue, Chef David welcomes every guest under the Twin Spires with exceptional Southern hospitality and imaginative twists on low country favorites. Fresh ingredients from local farms and artisans provide the tools with which Chef Danielson and his skilled team practice their craft and entice fans of all ages.
A hardworking team player with an eye for detail, David joined the culinary team at Churchill Downs in 2011 as Executive Sous Chef and has welcomed celebrities, heads of state and passionate racing fans from around the globe.
David comes from a classical culinary background, having studied at the Dumas Pere School of French cooking and later at the famed École Hotelier de Tain l’Hermitage in France. He then honed his cooking skills at several Michelin-starred restaurants before returning to the U.S.
Back Stateside, Chef Danielson joined the team at New York’s United Nations Plaza Hotel as Executive Chef before relocating to Chicago for opportunities at The Ritz Carlton and world-renowned Charlie Trotter’s. A seasoned and talented industry professional, he served as personal chef to the British Consulate General and has lent his culinary expertise to a variety of major events, including PGA Championships, the US Open Tennis Tournament, and the Grammy Awards.
Additionally, Chef David is a member of the international gastronomic society, Confrère de la Chaîne des Rotisseurs and was honored with the Confrérie de Chevaliers des Crozes Hermitage for his culinary achievements in France.
David’s commitment to creating a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors to the Churchill Downs has consistently impressed the Levy Team, as has his implementation of farm-fresh artisan products in menus inspired by racing tradition. Without fail, Chef Danielson surprises guests with unexpected yet familiar dishes, ensuring many generations of racing fans to come.