Rising Star Chef Brian Rae of Rialto - Biography

Cambridge, MA

February 2011

Ridgefield, Connecticut, where Brian Rae grew up, was a bit of a culinary scene: just 60 or so miles from Manhattan and with that cozy New England neighborhood feel, it was the ideal spot for weary chefs from the city to settle down with the kids and open their own businesses. For Rae, who took a liking to kitchens when he was working part-time jobs in high school, it was an ideal town to explore his cheffy inclinations.

Rae went from deli to gourmet grocery and catering to restaurants before settling into the idea of pursuing a career in the culinary arts. After high school, he went to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, graduating in 1997. Rae then worked in restaurants in his Connecticut hometown, at Bernard’s and The Elms Inn. The zealous young chef’s introduction to serious seafood was with Chef Steve Cavagnaro at Nantucket’s long-standing seafood institution Straight Wharf. Cavagnaro’s simple approach to food taught Rae how to best utilize and highlight ingredients.

Seeking more experience in a culinary city, Rae was tempted to Las Vegas. He joined the opening team for Rick Moonen’s first Vegas restaurant, RM Seafood, as sous chef. After a year, Moonen promoted Rae to chef de cuisine of the fine dining arm of the two-in-one restaurant. Under Moonen, Rae continued his extensive training in seafood, with a focus on sustainability, and further developed his ingredient-driven sensibility. And for his work at RM Seafood, Rae earned a 2008 StarChefs.com Las Vegas Rising Star Chef Award.

In 2009, Rae returned to the East Coast to Boston, where he's now the chef at Chef Jody Adams's Rialto.