Chef Graham Elliot Bowles was born in Seattle, but lived all over the world with his parents, who were in the Navy. Taking a busboy position at the age of 17, Bowles was turned on to cooking as a career. He attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales and was off and running, finding his way into inspiring kitchens around the country.
Bowles’ first position after culinary school – coincidentally found through StarChefs.com – was at the Jackson House Inn & Restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont, where he became proficient in New England’s regional ingredients and culinary history. Next he turned to the South and the acclaimed Mansion on Turtle Creek. Working under Chef Dean Fearing, Bowles became acquainted with the rigors of fine dining in a luxury hotel setting.
Inspired by one of Charlie Trotter’s cookbook, Bowles set his sights on Chicago and the kitchen of the world-renowned chef Trotter, where he learned what it meant to work at the highest level of culinary professionalism. He brought that level of excellence with him to Tru, and now to Avenues at The Peninsula Chicago. As Chef de Cuisine of Avenues, Bowles is flourishing and developing his own culinary style, which he describes as a blend of equal parts creativity, technique and aesthetics.
Bowles’ philosophy that comes through loud and clear in his dishes at Avenues is this: One must seek out his own voice in the world of cuisine. Like any great artist, he recognizes that in order to do something different, he must unlearn all that was taught and force himself to rethink things and interpret them in his own way. Humility, courage, vision, respect, passion and focus are the words that he lives by.
Viewing the kitchen as more of a sanctuary or laboratory rather than simply a place of work, Bowles seeks out new ingredients and techniques with zeal. And his latest venture, a casual sandwich shop named grahamwich, spreads Bowles' sense of fun and flavor to a wide and hungry audience.