George Mahaffey

Chef George Mahaffey is a legendary figure in hotel fine dining, having first made his mark at luxury resorts Hotel Bel Air and The Little Nell in Aspen. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 1997 for his work at The Restaurant at Little Nell. Mahaffey is a senior partner at the San Francisco-based RestaurantRx Consulting.


During his tenure as executive chef at the Hotel Bel Air, George Mahaffey introduced a diversity of flavors that was a departure from the traditional European model of fine dining — something the Los Angeles Times called "California Luxury" — which was captured in the glossy pages of The Bel-Air Book of Southern California Food and Entertaining (1991).

Mahaffey left in 1992 to helm The Restaurant at Little Nell, where he garnered multiple James Beard Award nominations and won The Ivy Award for Excellence in 1996. In 1997, he published a cookbook, Country Inn: The Best of Casual Country Cooking (1997). Mahaffey went on the found his own restaurant consulting business, working with an impressive roster of clients including Levy Restaurants in Chicago and Sake Lounge in Houston, before serving as executive chef at the Hotel Jerome.


George Mahaffey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in philosophy from Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed a certified cook apprenticeship program at the American Culinary Federation.

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