Kent Rathbun was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1961. At 14 he entered the food industry, lying about his age by claiming to be a year older, first as a dish washer, and three weeks later, he was promoted to a cooking station. At age 17, he was working as an apprentice in KC’s La Bonne Auberge restaurant, where his mother worked as a maitre d’ for seven years.
In May of 1994, Great Chefs was scheduled to shoot Kent and his brother Kevin at the Baby Routh restaurant in Dallas for their Great Chefs – Great Cities series on the Discovery Channel. When they got there, Kent had left to go to work as sous chef at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where Great Chefs had filmed Great Chef Dean Fearing. So only Kevin Rathbun was taped at that time. Before editing could be finished, the restaurant closed and Kevin moved on to Nava in Atlanta in 1995 and that’s when he appeared on the Great Chefs series.
In the meantime, Chef Kent Rathbun moved on and worked at the Warwick Melrose Hotel and the Landmark Restaurant. While at the Landmark, he had the opportunity to make annual trips to Bangkok, Thailand, which provided him the resources and research to create his own spectacular style of contemporary global cuisine. This provided him the foundation of his first restaurant, and he opened Abacus in 1999, receiving accolades from around the world.
Exceeding his expectations, he began research for a second concept, Gourmet Backyard Cuisine, and opened Jasper’s in Plano, Texas in 2005. Keeping it in the family, Kent is married to Tracy, who is co-owner of Dallas’ Shinsei restaurant.