Chef Kent Rathbun
Chef Kent Rathbun’s roots are firmly set in food. At the age of nine, he discovered his passion for culinary creativity and began learning the skills and techniques needed to become the renowned and impressive chef that he is today. In 1997, Rathbun decided to follow his dream and establish his own world-class restaurant. Within months, Abacus began to be recognized as a pinnacle of fine dining and has received numerous accolades, including Mobil Four-Stars; AAA Four Diamonds; Bon Appetit's Best of the Year 2001, "Best Chef" by D Magazine; and "One of the Top Meals Around the World" by USA Today. Abacus is a distinguished inductee in the NRN Fine Dining Hall of Fame.
Keeping with Abacus’ level of ingredients and design, Rathbun wanted to add a touch of “home cooking” flair featuring a “modern outdoors” theme. Jasper’s “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine” quickly became a location with distinction. With the opening of its first location in Plano, Jasper’s recognition helped kick-start the expansion to The Woodlands and Austin. Jasper’s has been named one of Esquire Magazine’s Top 20 Best New Restaurants in America. The successes of Abacus and Jasper’s have foreshadowed the imminent legacy Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen has created in the Dallas area. Drawing influences from family recipes while focusing on the “roots” of cooking, Chef Rathbun uses the freshest ingredients from local/regional purveyors to create an eclectic yet comforting menu of home-cooked favorites with a touch of elegance.
Rathbun has thrived on the national scene. He has cooked on numerous occasions at the James Beard House and was nominated as the Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He has appeared on the Food Network’s "Chef du Jour", "Cooking Live with Sara Moulton", "Ready Set Cook", the CBS Early Show, and NBC’s Today Show. In 2008, Rathbun defeated friend and grill master Bobby Flay on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”. Passionate about charitable organizations, Rathbun is actively involved in the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Zoo to Do, the North Texas Food Bank and the American Heart Association. This is Kent's fourth year representing Texas at the Taste of Derby.