Meet Our Chefs: Damon Payne

Our L’Ecole Culinaire campuses have the good fortune of attracting impressive talent in our chef-instructors. We will periodically be profiling different chefs in our blog posts. Today, we are focusing on Chef Damon Payne at our L’Ecole Culinaire campus in St. Louis.


Chef Payne began his culinary career almost 20 years ago with an apprenticeship at The Racquet Club. Over time, Chef Payne worked his way through the ranks and eventually earned the title of Executive Sous Chef. With his growing resume, Chef Payne was able to expand his culinary horizons to work in New York at Aquavit alongside the award-winning and nationally-recognized Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Additionally, Chef Payne worked with Chef Gary Kunz, a Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee, during his tenure at Lespinnase at The St. Regis—New York.

Chef Payne has earned multiple recognitions throughout his career beginning in 1991 with the American Culinary Federation Certification of Recognition he earned while assisting with the Missouri Seafood Challenge in St. Louis. Chef Payne went on to be recognized through The American Culinary Federation in 1992 with a silver medal for Best of Food Show in St. Louis, in 1994 with a bronze medal in the ACF’s Junior Cold Food Challenge in St. Louis, and in 1995 with an ACF silver medal in the Hot Food Competition in New Orleans.

Currently, Chef Payne is a St. Louis Chef de Cuisine Junior Member and a member of the American Culinary Federation. He is also being featured in a segment of Shopping Like A Chef on KSDK, Channel 5 television in St. Louis. We will post a link on our FACEBOOK page when the segment airs.

See our own Chef Payne shop for ingredients and prepare a dish from our upcoming early Valentines Day menu!


2011   Certificate from Washington University mini med class

1996   A.C.F. Graduated Apprentice

One thought on “Meet Our Chefs: Damon Payne”

  1. Hey Chef Damon. I was a past student of yours. (Eric Waters) The one who didn’t talk to much and smiled a lot. Anyways, Thank you for all that you do as a Chef and a Teacher most of all. To take the time for students to be taught a trade for something they love so much. I truly appreciate all your dedication towards us all. You taught us all the beginnings of something great. I am now an Executive Chef and own my own part time catering business because of you and others who cared. I’m very grateful for your time and effort you put towards us. Thank you Chef for being the Chef that cared.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s