Catalyst Restaurant‘s Chef-Owner William Kovel’s interest in food “sparked” at an early age and led him to travel in pursuit of delicious food. A native of West Hartford, Connecticut, Kovel cooked in a variety of cities and countries before settling back down in New England. He received his degree in Culinary and Hospitality Studies at Southern New Hampshire University prior to moving out West to San Francisco where he was able to broaden his knowledge of cuisine and technique beyond the East Coast. Kovel’s culinary career has brought him overseas to London and across the United States before he decided to settle in Boston.
“The food I prepare comes from a passion for fresh, simple flavors cultivated in California, Boston, and Europe, threaded together with classic French techniques,” says Kovel. Citing his time at Jardinière and Northern California cooking as his biggest influences, Kovel dedicates himself to using the best and most responsible seafood, produce and other products locally available.
During Chef Kovel’s time in San Francisco, he secured an entry-level garde manger position where he learned from one of the best chefs in the country, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière. Under Chef Des Jardins, Kovel worked his way up to a Chef de Partie position while learning about local and sustainable cooking from one of America’s most influential culinary leaders.
Kovel came back to New England and being an admirer of Restaurateur Michael Schlow, he soon joined his team at Radius where he worked his way up to Sous Chef and helped run Schlow’s flagship restaurant for three years.
Kovel then yearned for a new challenge and accepted a position abroad at the Michelin-starred Orrery in London. This time overseas refreshed his focus on French technique and the demands of a Michelin kitchen. Most recently, Kovel was in charge of the esteemed and award-winning restaurant, Aujourd’hui. When the Four Seasons announced that they would be shutting the doors of the Grande Dame of the Boston restaurant scene in June of 2009, Kovel was ready for a fresh start. Grateful for his time spent in the kitchen amongst his passionate and talented team, and for the unique opportunities the position provided, he approached the closure with a mixture of melancholy and excitement for what lies ahead. His next focus brought him to his own restaurant, which he has spent the last year planning and building – Catalyst in Cambridge. Catalyst embodies the expertise and cooking techniques that Kovel is known for and is slated to open in August 2011.
During his tenure at the Four Seasons, Kovel was recognized by Boston Magazine and was named one of a talented group of upcoming “Chefs to Watch”. He was also honored with Boston’s Top Restaurants by Chaine des Rotisseurs and he achieved the revered status of the AAA Five Diamond Award.
An enthusiastic member of the Chef’s Collaborative; an organization that promotes sustainable and local cuisine; he’s eager to apply his down-to-earth approach to his own restaurant where he can focus on local, sustainable food in a refined, neighborhood setting. His new venture, named Catalyst, opened in late summer 2011 in Cambridge’s Technology Square and offers American Cuisine with undertones incorporating French techniques.
Kovel lives in Dorchester with his wife Sara. His interests include reading, traveling and fishing.