After growing up in Northern California, chef Carolyn Johnson crossed the country to attend Wellesley College, where she graduated with a degree in Economics and Studio Art. From there it was a leap into her true passion of food, cooking and restaurants.
Johnson has cooked at many top restaurants in the Boston area. She rocked the wood grills cooking Stan Frankenthaler’s Asian-inspired cuisine at Salamander in Cambridge. She then spent time in the kitchen at Icarus, Chris Douglass’ New American restaurant in the South End. There was even a stint as sauté cook at the famed Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine, known for its on-premise herb and vegetable garden.
Most recently, Johnson was the Chef-de-Cuisine at Rialto Restaurant in Harvard Square, where she worked her way up through the ranks over the course of a seven-year tenure under chef-owner Jody Adams. Working closely with Chef Adams on the 2007 re-concepting of the restaurant and its menu helped Johnson develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of regional Italian cuisine.
Over the course of her cooking experiences, Johnson has developed a passion for seasonal menus and a commitment to locally-sourced cuisine. She thrives on working closely with the people who grow and produce the food she serves. This entails fostering real relationships with the small organic vegetable farmers, mushroom foragers and the shellfish growers with whom she works; as well as being an active participant in the Chefs Collaborative.
Johnson is a long time resident of Somerville. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, hiking and home brewing beer. She has also been involved with many industry-related organizations and charities including: Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Share Our Strength and the Greater Boston Food Bank.