Even at a young age, Kevin Rathbun was no stranger to the restaurant business. He grew up in a food-driven environment learning from his mother and grandmother how to bring fresh goods from the garden to the table. From picking his own tomatoes and squash for the meal that evening, to going to the local dairy farm drinking the fresh squeezed milk from the cow, he quickly learned to appreciate the essence of food and family. His father, being a jazz musician in the Jazz Belt in Kansas City, often cooked great BBQ for his musician friends together and later had jam sessions in the basement. Such experiences have led Kevin to appreciate and share his passion for the hospitality industry.
Kevin entered the restaurant scene working as a young apprentice at age 14. Shortly after, he received the calling from renowned chef, Bradley Ogden, of The American Restaurant in Kansas City. At the age of 17, Kevin’s ambition and drive was noticed and he was quickly promoted to a Sous Chef. Developing his talents for the next three years, he was then offered another Sous Chef position at the renowned Brennan’s of Houston, Texas. There, Kevin continued to hone his skills and was then noticed and chosen by Executive Chef, Emeril Legasse, to relocate to Commanders Palace in New Orleans and work under him. Kevin kept pushing for that taste of perfection. He watched, duplicated and created new and exciting dishes that energized not only the guests, but critics alike.
He was then invited to become Chef at the noted Baby Routh in Dallas with Chef Stephen Pyles. While Kevin was Chef at Baby Routh in Dallas, it was named “one of America’s 25 best restaurants” by Mimi Sheraton of Travel & Leisure and received the DiRona award for dining excellence. His drive and passion continued to push for the next level and he was soon the Executive Chef of NAVA in Atlanta where he brought Southwestern cuisine to the city. NAVA became an instant hit and was noticed both local and nationally and since 1995 has been continuously voted one of the top five restaurants in the city.
Then in 1999, Kevin introduced Atlanta to Asian fusion as the opening chef for Bluepointe. Bluepointe has received local and national recognition in Esquire Magazine as a “top new restaurant” as well as being voted one of the top five restaurants in the city.
From 1999-2003, Chef Kevin was the Corporate Executive Chef for the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, and oversaw many of the restaurants. He updated and reviewed the menus at Chops, Atlanta Fish Market and the Buckhead Diner. Eventually, he landed at the Buckhead Diner to overhaul the menu and bring life back into this fifteen-year old restaurant. The Buckhead Diner has received local and national praise for its menu and service.
Now, in 2004, Chef Kevin brings his own signature restaurant, Rathbun’s, to Atlanta. Opening in Inman Park at The Stove Works, Chef Kevin will be involved in another exciting stylish restaurant, creating “Seasonally and Globally Driven Food”. Kevin says, “I love this city and Inman Park provides everything I was looking for in developing a new restaurant. A hip, re-generated area with a tremendous growth potential. I have been watching Inman Park for years and I love the atmosphere of the small neighborhood, yet still close enough to everybody in the city.”
Kevin resides in Atlanta with his wife, Melissa. In his spare time, he enjoys cigars, golfing and fishing.