About The Chef
Mark D. Graham was born in Boston, Massachusetts. At age 17 he began cooking professionally in Newton, Massachusetts. He worked in restaurants while earning a degree in film, and it didn’t take long before he realized his passion lay in the kitchen. After graduating from The University of Massachusetts in Amherst, he worked his way up the line at The Sherborn Inn near Boston. In 1993 he moved to the town Lenox in the Berkshires of Massachusetts for the executive chef post at The Seven Hills Inn. He then did a stint at The Egremont Inn, located in the southern Berkshire area, before deciding to fine tune his craft in Northern California. Graham was working for a catering firm in St. Helena, Napa when a fortuitous meeting with Bradley Ogden led to a position at Ogden’s Lark Creek Cafe. He moved on to The Village Pub as Kirk Beyers’s sous-chef, and then worked for four-star Chef Gary Danko at Viognier. This experience prepared him for a sous chef position under Wolfgang Puck and Michael French at Spago in Palo Alto.
Ready to break out on his own, Graham headed back to the Northeast. His sojourn in California crafting wine-friendly cuisine made him a perfect pick for The Wine Bar’s executive chef position in Saratoga Springs, New York. “The wine list is still as fabulous as ever, but you’d be crazy not to pursue the food,” wrote Metroland’s B. A. Nilsson, thanks to “the wickedly talented Mark Graham,” who joined The Wine Bar in 2001. Thanks in part to Graham’s “impressive” cuisine; Steve Barnes of the Times Union wrote “The Wine Bar is yet another example of why the Spa City has the best dining in the Capital Region.”
This 27-year culinary veteran has established a following with his inventive, bold style that marries flirty sensual flavors with a multicultural blend of ingredients, technique and finesse.
In 2005, Graham and his Wine Bar team hosted The King Estate Winery, Wine Lovers Dinner at the famed James Beard Foundation in Manhattan, New York. The six-course wine-matched menu was a sold-out success, and has garnered three more dinners at the historic brown-stone since. In 2009 Mark left The Spa city to become executive chef of Mezzanotte Ristorante in Guilderland, where owners Mitch & Connie Ware created an upscale-intimate dining spot that has become a Capital Region buzz due in part for the graceful service, excellent wine list and the culinary attention to detail.
In 30 years Mark’s cooking has become a well branded culinary artisan forging alliances with passionate local farmers and progressive upstate chefs in and beyond the Capital Region of New York. His gastronomic evolution has led him from Boston, Massachusetts, to San Francisco/Napa, California to upstate New York. Mark was the executive sous chef at Max London’s Restaurant +Bar in Saratoga Springs before coming to taste.