Clay Conley Has a Secret Love for Skittles, Starburst, and Twizzlers

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

If you don't know who Clay Conley is, you're obviously not that into food. For the past two years, Conley has been nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef in the South -- this year he was the only nominee in all of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The Maine native started off his culinary career washing dishes in a pizza joint as a teenager. Obviously, things skyrocketed from there -- he later went on to become the Director of Culinary of the Olives Group for Todd English. And then he replaced Michelle Bernstein as the Executive Chef at Azul. You obviously have to know what you're doing to even attempt to fill those shoes.

Broward and Palm Beach's blue-eyed boy can now be found behind line of his prestigious Palm Beach spot Buccan or overseeing operations of its Japanese-inspired 'little sister' Imoto at Buccan.

When Conley cooks, the culinary world pays attention, and that's why he's number one on our countdown of Tastemakers!

The most influential person in my career has been...

Todd English

When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...

Candy: Skittles, Starburst, Twizzlers.

What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?

Ethnic cuisine: Ethiopian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Korean, Malaysian....Peruvian!

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?

Bartenders with mustaches, flannel shirts, rolled up jeans and vests, that serve only bitters and brown booze.

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?

I already did that! Minus the unlimited funds.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Helping to run a successful restaurant group.

Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?

Jerry Garcia, Jay Gatsby, Larry Bird, Ben Franklin, Bob Dylan, and Bono  

New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous 2013 Tastemakers are listed below.

30. Robyn Almodovar of Palate Party Food Truck

29. Chris and Jordan Bellus of Laser Wolf

28. Fulvio Sardelli of Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse

27. Brett Chiavari of BC Tacos

26. Mike Halker of Due South Brewing

25. Chrissy Benoit of the Little House Boynton Beach

24. Dean Max of DJM Restaurants

23. Lauren Bowen of Tap 42

22. Vaughan Lazar of Kapow!

21. Eric Guerro, Mark Fee, and Jeff Evans of Angry Union Brewing

20. Ben Lubin of The Blind Monk

19. Susan Kim of Gabose

18. Julieta Bocos of Casa Frida

17. Marc Falsetto of Rok:Brgr

16. Frank Coniglio of E.R. Bradley's Saloon

15. Iliya Dimitrov of Valentino's Cucina Italiana

14 Tim Lipman of Coolinary Cafe

13. Lauren DeShields of Market 17

12. Cleve Mash of Dirty Martini

11. Jodi Swank of Swank Farms

10. David Sabin of Brickhouse PR

9. Lindsay Autry of Sundy House

8. Tom Moynihan of d.b.a./cafe

7. Steve Martorano of Martorano's Cafe

6. Tim Petrillo of the Restaurant People

5. Nanci Alexander of Sublime

4. Ryan Sentz of Funky Buddha Brewery

3. Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich: South Florida's Savviest Restaurateurs

2. Paul Castronovo: Give Him Pasta and Wine and He's Good to Go

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.