Chef Jody Adams
Jody Adams is a James Beard Award winning chef and visionary behind two of Massachusetts’ most well-known restaurants: Rialto, in Harvard Square, and TRADE, in Boston’s Seaport District. Known as much for her humility, warmth and unshakeable work ethic as for her culinary skills, Adams has chartered an illustrious and adventurous career that has seen her competing on BRAVO’s Top Chef Masters (Season Two), leading culinary-focused bike tours in Italy and raising millions of dollars for causes dear to her heart: most notably Partners in Health, Share Our Strength, which named her with their Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2010, and The Greater Boston Food Bank.
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from Brown University, Adams launched her career working as a line cook at Seasons restaurant in the famed Bostonian Hotel under Chef Lydia Shire in 1983. Three years later, she helped open Hamersley’s Bistro with Gordon Hamersley as his Sous Chef, and in 1990, she became Executive Chef of Michela’s in Cambridge. While at Michela’s, Adams developed a reputation for carefully researched regional menus that combined New England ingredients with Italian culinary traditions and was named with a prestigious “Best New Chef” award by Food & Wine Magazine. She and partners opened Rialto in 1994; just four months after the opening, The Boston Globe awarded Rialto four-stars. In 1997, Adams received the James Beard Foundation award for The Perrier-Jouet Best Chef Award: Northeast. Adams translated recipes from Rialto into In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant (Harper Collins Publishers; January 2002), a book she co-wrote with her husband, Ken Rivard.
A testament to her unwavering dedication, in 2004, ten years after its opening, Gourmet Magazine named Rialto one of the “world’s best hotel restaurants.” In January of 2007, Adams became the sole owner of the restaurant and focused the menu on regional Italian cuisine. The Boston Globe awarded Rialto four stars once again and Esquire Magazine named Rialto one of the best restaurants in the country in 2007. Most recently, Rialto was awarded a four-star rating from Mobile Travel Guides.
Adams is a chef who is equally inspired by and versatile in cooking with New England and international ingredients. She sources locally as much as possible and prioritizes this to such a great degree that she even launched a Guerilla Grilling Program, now five years old, where her restaurant staff visits local farms and artisans in the region to build relationships and awareness. A globetrotter by nature, she travels throughout the world frequently researching flavor combinations that then lead to her signature bold creations.
Since 2011, Adams and her husband Ken have hosted the successful blog, The Garum Factory, a colorful narrative and recipe collection written for the home cook. When not cooking or writing, Adams can likely be found cycling, an enormous passion of hers. She has biked in the 192-mile Pan Mass Challenge the past four years raising over $250,000 with her team for The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.