Duner’s Lands Chef Christian Kelly

by Charlottesville29

Not much counts as “big news” in the food world. But this may. Duner’s has landed one of the most successful Charlottesville chefs of our time.

In 2006, Christian Kelly co-founded the restaurant Maya, and presided over its kitchen until this year. Before that, as head chef of Clifton Inn, he helped Clifton become one of just 60 restaurants in America to qualify for Relais & Chateaux, an elite collection of luxury hotels and restaurants of the world. Having parted ways with Maya, Kelly is ready for a new chapter. Head chef of Duner’s.

What lured him? “It’s an institution,” said Kelly. “Legendary in Charlottesville.” Kelly calls it a huge honor to have the opportunity to put dishes on the restaurant’s menu. “I am grateful to be part of something as great at this place,” said Kelly. As chef, his plans are to fold himself into what is already happening at the restaurant, with a renewed focus on local sourcing, a priority for Kelly throughout his career. “Using what local farmers are pulling out of the ground and coming together with my kitchen team to create seasonal food is what I’m all about,” said Kelly.

Duner’s itself has been going through changes in recent years, most notably last year’s sale of the restaurant from its longtime owner to Will Richey and Jonathan Corey. Richey is the most prolific Charlottesville restaurateur of our era, and it’s rare to hear him sound so excited about a development. “It is tremendous news,” said Richey.

This news broke two weeks ago on the weekly food segment on WINA. Listen to the segment here. And tune in Fridays at 5:08 pm each week.