Recognition & Awards
- James Beard Foundation: Nominated for Best Chef Mid Atlantic
- Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s RAMMY Award for Best Fine Dining Restaurant & Chef of the Year
- Washingtonian magazine’s 100 Very Best Restaurants
- DiRoNA Award for Fine Dining
- Washington Post top 50 restaurants
- Wine Spectator Award of Excellence
- Town & Country magazine’s Best Restaurant in Washington, DC
- Conde Nast magazine’s 60 Hot Tables
- Bon Appetit magazine’s Top Tables
- Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurants
- Gourmet magazine’s America’s Top Tables: Newcomer
Chef Todd C. Gray & Ellen Kassoff Gray opened Equinox in 1999 to showcase their shared passion for food and hospitality that truly makes a difference within Washington D.C.’s vibrant culinary community. While focusing on inventive interpretations of classic American cuisine, Todd and Ellen have embraced a concept known in Japan as “putting the farmer’s face on the food” — and, indeed, you’ll find farm trucks chugging down Connecticut Avenue to bring the freshest local produce, seafood and meats to Equinox each day. Every plate coming from Todd’s kitchen tells a story of place, celebrating mid-Atlantic cuisine through sophisticated seasonal dishes.
Combining their restaurant expertise with philanthropy has also been a cornerstone of Todd and Ellen’s philosophy, advocating for sustainable agriculture and fisheries and for humanely raised animals, while also supporting numerous charitable events such as the Human Rights Campaign’s Chefs for Equality and creating Sugar & Champagne (now PawFest) to benefit the Washington Humane Society to the tune of some $800,000 in its first 13 years. The two also expect their staff — over 120 employees, many who have been with them since the beginning — to make a difference in the community and choose to lead by example, including being recognized by the White House for their dedication to promoting healthy lifestyles for elementary students and their families as a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” program.
Todd and Ellen’s first cookbook, The New Jewish Table (St. Martin’s Press, 2013), tells the story of how the couple melded their culinary and personal lives to create new and meaningful family traditions. They live with their son in Washington, DC and can often be seen commuting to the restaurant by bicycle.