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Chef Sean Wilson of Proof is hanging up his chef coat and stepping away from the kitchen

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A culinary pioneer in Des Moines is hanging up his chef's coat and stepping out of the kitchen.

Sean Wilson, who has elevated fine dining in Des Moines as chef and owner of Proof Restaurant, has decided to step away from the restaurant at the end of this week.

Wilson is selling Proof to a local group of individuals who share his passion for great food, and who will carry on his legacy. 

“I am proud of the food and dining experience our amazing culinary team and outstanding staff have brought to this community," Wilson said. "Together we have built a family dedicated to hospitality and have invited people into Proof as we would invite people into our own homes. I am thrilled that this team will continue our legacy of hospitality and culinary adventures well into the future.”

Proof will close on Sunday for renovations and will reopen in time for Des Moines Restaurant Week on Aug. 16, under new ownership and with a new chef whom Wilson has mentored.

Wilson took over Proof from Carly Ross in 2010. Since then, his 10-course Second Saturday dinners have become legendary, a seemingly never-ending array of creative dishes based on a theme and made with as many local ingredients as he can muster.

During his tenure at Proof, Wilson brought national attention to Des Moines, with three James Beard Foundation nominations for “Best Chef Midwest” and accolades from Food & Wine Magazine, DSM Magazine and other publications. Time Magazine has named Proof “Iowa’s Best Restaurant” two years in a row.

The staff of Proof Restaurant also bring their own sense of Mediterranean and American cuisine to central Iowa.

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Brian Taylor Carlson is the food and dining reporter at the Des Moines Register. Reach him at or 515-284-8552 and follow @briantaylorcarlson on Facebook, @BriinDSM on Twitter and @briindsm on Instagram.

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