Vitaly Paley was born near Kiev in the former Soviet Union, and immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, bringing with him his skills as a concert pianist. Two years into his studies at Julliard, Paley decided to move from performing behind the piano to behind the stove. After graduating from The French Culinary Institute in New York he set about refining his skills at Union Square Café, Remi,and Chanterelle in New York. He then apprenticed at the two-starred Michelin restaurant Moulin de la Gorce near Limoges, France before returning to New York.
In 1994 Vitaly Paley and his wife Kimberly moved from New York to Portland, lured by the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Since opening Paley’s Place in 1995, Vitaly Paley has become one of the region’s prominent chefs. He focuses his cuisine on simply plated local, sustainable, and organic ingredients.
In 2005, Paley was the winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Northwest. Vitaly and Kimberly Paley published The Paley’s Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest in 2008 and his recipes have been featured in such publications as The Flavor Bible and Food Arts magazine. Paley was crowned the Prince of Pork at the 2009 Cochon 555 chef competition held in Portland, Oregon to benefit Raphael House.
Paley took his culinary talents one step further in 2004 when he designed an alternative energy bar for his own personal use, as an avid runner and cyclist. Now available commercially, the “Paleybar” is prepared with organic produce from the Northwest like apricots and dry-roasted hazelnuts, available in four flavors. An integral part of Portland’s expanding culinary community, he is a member of Chef’s Collaborative, a not-for-profit industry group that promotes sustainability through advocacy and education.