Chef Kent Rathbun
Over the last decade, Kent Rathbun has achieved national recognition as a chef who defines innovation in the world of fine dining. Kent has been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York and was nominated as the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southwest in 2000 and 2002.
Kent's Dallas restaurant, Abacus, has been a hit from its inception in 1999. After being open only four months, Abacus was awarded the coveted Four Star rating by The Dallas Morning News. Abacus currently holds the Mobil Four Star and AAA Four Diamond awards and has been upgraded by the Morning News to Five Stars. Dallas' restaurant industry has honored Abacus as "Best Restaurant" and for "Best Design". Abacus has also been praised by Food & Wine magazine for offering "one of the 10 most original, food-friendly, value-conscious new wine lists in America." And in 2001 and 2002, Wine Spectator honored Abacus with an "Award of Excellence".
Kent and his brother, Chef Kevin Rathbun of Nava in Atlanta, appear regularly on the TV Food Network's "Chef du Jour", "Cooking Live with Sara Moulton", and "Ready Set Cook". The brothers also have appeared together on the "CBS Early Show" and the "Rosie O'Donnell Show" and have recently completed a pilot for a cooking show.
Kent has been featured in Rosie Magazine, Bon Appetit, Southern Living Magazine, Nation's Restaurant News, USA Today, Elle, Veranda Magazine, and the "High Profile" section of The Dallas Morning News. Kent has also been named "Best Chef" by D Magazine. He was honored to be one of the featured chefs for the George W. Bush 2001 Inaugural Balls.
Kent's achievements demonstrate how his creativity, dedication and continuous innovation have given him an impressive reputation in the industry. Kent learned the business from the ground up, working long hours as a dishwasher before becoming a cook. Having stumbled onto work he loved, he found that cooking uninspiring meals in average restaurants simply wasn't enough for him. His passion landed him an apprentice job at La Bonne Auberge, a Five Star French restaurant in Kansas City.
The opportunity accelerated his career and enabled him to move from kitchen to kitchen working with some of the best chefs in the country.
By the mid '80s, Kent's talents were beginning to earn him a reputation in the culinary world. At this time, he was working as Sous Chef at Mr. B's, a Four Star restaurant in New Orleans owned by the internationally known Brennan family. Kent's next move was back to Kansas City to be the Sous Chef at the Mobil Five Star American Restaurant. He was quickly promoted to Executive Chef of sister restaurant Milano.
In 1990, Dean Fearing, Executive Chef of the elegant Five Diamond, Five Star Mansion on Turtle Creek, lured Rathbun to Dallas to serve as his Senior Sous Chef. Two years later, Kent was offered his own kitchen and the Executive Chef title at the redesigned Landmark Restaurant in the Dallas Melrose Hotel. While at the Landmark, he made annual trips to visit the restaurant's owners in Bangkok, Thailand and was asked to cook for the company's flagship hotel, Dusit Thani in Bangkok. There he created a blend of Texas cuisine with local Thai flavors. His experimentation and research led him to develop a spectacular personal style of Contemporary Global Cuisine, drawing on his varied background of Southwestern, Mediterranean, Cajun/Creole and Pacific Rim influences.