It’s fitting that Chef Danny Lledó’s nickname as a child living in his father’s hometown of Dénia in Spain was “Xiquet de casa,” which means “local boy.” This nickname, which now adorns his MICHELIN Star restaurant in Washington DC, speaks not only of his childhood years in Valencia, but also of his deep roots in the DC area where he now makes his home and has owned and operated restaurants for many years.
Chef Danny was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, not far from where he now lives. On his daily commute down to the Glover Park neighborhood where his restaurants are located, he passes many landmarks that remind him of his years in the area. When he arrives at work and begins to light the wood fires in his glass-enclosed kitchen at Xiquet (chee-KETT), he is transported to a different era of his childhood, in the town of Dénia, with its freshly-caught seafood, abundant local produce, and world-famous rices and paellas.
As the son of an accomplished Spanish chef, it might seem inevitable now that Danny would be where he is today. But his path to becoming the most awarded paella chef in the US and owner of two notable restaurants has not always been a straight one. During his college years at The University of Maryland in College Park, he studied finance (while working in restaurants, of course). After graduation, he began financial consulting. But over the years, the pull of hospitality became too strong to ignore, and he turned his gaze back toward the kitchen.
The years in the DC area and in Dénia, his Spanish and Portuguese heritage, his experience in renowned restaurants, and his strong foundation in finance all come together at Xiquet. From carefully sourcing the finest products for his tasting menu and wine collection, to ensuring his fine dining restaurant survived a global pandemic that began just two weeks after opening its doors, every aspect in Chef Danny’s career has contributed to his current success.
From running around the kitchens of his father’s friends as a boy in Valencia to earning his first MICHELIN star for a restaurant he created to honor his father, there’s perhaps never been a more fitting story for the classic headline of “local boy makes good” than that of Chef Danny Lledó.
Awards & Press
- Michelin 1 Star
Tom Sietsema's Fall Dining Guide 2023: Best restaurants for any occasion | The Washington Post | October 2023
The Soundtrack to D.C.’s Michelin-Starred Dining Rooms | Eater DC | September 2023
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort partners with Michelin-Starred Chef Danny LLedo | Food & Beverage Magazine | September 2023