Cambridge, MA 02138
From Rialto’s perch inside the Charles Hotel, overlooking Harvard Square, chef Jody Adams serves a menu that’s a living record of her passionate relationship with Italy – each dish a reflection of her travels up and down the country, her long-standing friendships with purveyors, and her study of regional traditions.
The dining room, redesigned in 2007, features a white stone path, inspired by an ancient Roman road, that leads diners past an onyx bar into the dining room, where curved banquettes and cozy nooks create an intimate dining experience. Pumpkin, olive and white draperies evoke the warm colors of the Italian countryside.
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The connection between food and happiness began at an early age for Chef Jody Adams. Her mother was an adventurous cook and passed along an appreciation for European cooking, and, more importantly, European living. When she graduated from Brown University with a degree in anthropology, Adams took her first culinary position as part-time help to Nancy Verde Barr, a food writer and teacher. During her apprenticeship, she assisted in the classroom and helped test recipes for Nancy's cookbook on Italian immigrant cooking, We Called It Macaroni.
After deciding on a career in the restaurant business, Adams worked her way through the ranks of Boston's best restaurants. She began 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.
In 1990, she took the Executive Chef position at Michela's in Cambridge. While at Michela's, she developed her reputation for carefully-researched regional menus that combined New England ingredients with Italian culinary traditions.
In September 1994, Adams opened Rialto. Four months after the new restaurant's opening, The Boston Globe awarded Rialto four stars, the newspaper's highest rating, proclaiming that, "eating Jody Adams' food at the stunning new Rialto is like stepping into a winter greenhouse just at the moment a spectacular hothouse orchid burst into bloom, filling the senses."
In addition to running Rialto, Adams published her first cookbook in 2002, In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant. She co-wrote the book with her husband, Ken Rivard. It is a collection of recipes that follows her passions and palate as she cooks for family and friends and encourages cooks to spend time in the kitchen.
In 2007, Rialto was renovated from floor to ceiling. The new space and menu are a living record of Adams' passionate relationship with Italy. Each dish is a reflection of her travels up and down the country, her long-standing friendships with purveyors, and her study of regional traditions. A white stone path inspired by an ancient Roman road leads diners past an onyx bar illuminated from below into the dining room, where s-shaped banquettes and cozy nooks create an intimate dining experience. Pumpkin, olive and white draperies evoke the warm colors of the Italian countryside, with inviting banquettes of gold and sage mohair.
Adams is married to Ken Rivard and has two children, Oliver and Roxanne.