David Danielson Named New Executive Chef of Historic Churchill Downs

Aug 28, 2013 Eva Yusa

Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) and Levy Restaurants are delighted to name David Danielson as the new Executive Chef of the historic home of the Kentucky Derby. Danielson joined the culinary team at the racetrack in 2011 as Executive Sous Chef and has welcomed guests from the suites to the grandstand with fresh spins on classic low country favorites created with farm-fresh local ingredients. Danielson replaces Chef JoJo Doyle, who had served as Executive Chef at Churchill Downs since 2009.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have David take the helm of our dining experience,” said Ryan Jordan, general manager of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “He has a passion for Southern hospitality and an incredible level of culinary expertise, and our patrons will quickly appreciate his skill during our upcoming September meet and its pair of ‘Downs After Dark’ night racing programs on Sept. 7 and 28. With Chef David leading our team, we know that Churchill Downs’ guests from throughout North America and around the world will continue to enjoy a truly world-class experience with every bite.”

Danielson’s culinary style celebrates authentic southern flavors, while taking a progressive and inventive approach inspired by global cuisines, restaurant trends and farm-fresh ingredients. He enjoys surprising guests with menus inspired by the rich history of Churchill Downs and infused with the unexpected to entice the next generation of racing fans.

Classically trained, Danielson studied at the Dumas Pere school of French cooking and later continued at the renowned hotel school Ecole Hotelier Tain l’ Hermitage in France, honing his culinary skills at several Michelin-starred restaurants.

Upon returning to the U.S., Danielson worked as the executive chef at New York’s United Nations Plaza Hotel and at such Chicago favorites as the Ritz Carlton and Charlie Trotter’s. He also served as personal chef to the British Consulate General. Chef has also lent his culinary expertise to a variety of major events, including PGA Championships, the US Open Tennis Tournament and the GRAMMY Awards.


Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2014 and has two more racing meets in 2013: the first September Meet scheduled for Sept. 6-29 and its Fall Meet, which runs from Oct. 27-Nov. 30. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.


Levy Restaurants, founded in Chicago in 1978, is recognized as one of America’s fastest growing and most critically acclaimed restaurant companies, and is the leader in premium sports and entertainment dining. Levy was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports in the world by Fast Company magazine. The company’s diverse portfolio includes award-winning restaurants such as James Beard Award-winning Spiaggia in Chicago, Fulton’s Crab House, Bar Toma, Portobello and Wolfgang Puck Grand Café at Walt Disney World Resort, renowned sports and entertainment venues like Churchill Downs in Louisville, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Mammoth Mountain and events including the, US Open, Kentucky Derby NBA All-Star Games and the GRAMMY® Awards.


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