Michael Paley

  • Executive Chef
  • Hotel Ella and South Congress Hotel

A New Jersey native, Chef Michael Paley decided to pursue a culinary career after graduating from Florida State University with a film degree. He enrolled at the Florida Culinary School and, following completion of his program, worked under noteworthy chefs and operators such as Daniel Boulud and Drew Nieporent before taking the helm at Proof on Main at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY.

Through partnerships with Proof on Main’s own Woodland Farm and other regional farmers and producers, Paley made the restaurant a showcase for the Ohio River Valley—an homage to local farmers and sustainable agriculture. Proof on Main was named one of Esquire Magazine’s top 25 restaurants in 2006.

In July 2011, Paley opened Garage Bar, a casual restaurant in Louisville’s vibrant East Market neighborhood serving artisan pizza and Southern-inspired cuisine. Food & Wine Magazine honored Garage Bar as one of its “Best New Pizza Places in the South” in 2012.

That same year, Paley brought his culinary innovation to Metropole in Cincinnati. With the same passion for regionally sourced products and a nod to Cincinnati’s European roots, he created a menu centered around the restaurant’s custom-built, wood-burning fireplace. Metropole was named one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s 50 best new restaurants of 2013.

Chef Paley joined New Waterloo, an Austin-based hospitality management and real-estate development company, in fall of 2014. As executive chef of Hotel Ella, a historic boutique hotel, Chef Paley oversees in-room dining, banquets and Goodall’s Kitchen, the hotel’s casual American bistro. At South Congress Hotel, opened in fall 2015, Paley helms restaurants Café No Sé, a continental all-day cafe, and Central Standard, a classic American bar and grill. He also oversees in-room dining, banquets and catering for the entire property.