Mary Dumont Bio
Eliminated Week Three
Mary Dumont is the executive chef at Harvest Restaurant, in Cambridge, Mass. A native of New Hampshire, she was raised in a family of restaurateurs and grew up watching her parents grow their businesses into great successes. After attending Simmons College in Boston for literature, she followed a whim and moved to San Francisco at the age of 21. Immersing herself in the culture of food and dining, she realized it was her calling.
After the sudden death of her mother, Mary knew that the only way to succeed was to plan a serious course. She began working with such culinary talents as Traci Des Jardins, of San Francisco's Jardiniere; Laurent Manrique, of Campton Place; and Daniel Patterson, of Elizabeth Daniel. Further honing her skills, she worked at Blackbird, in Chicago and then was called back to California by Chef Manrique to be the executive chef at Sonoma Saveurs, in Sonoma. Chef Manrique had become Mary’s mentor and taught her the art of respecting the past and refining her palate. She returned home to New England in 2005 and, as the opening chef at The Dunaway Restaurant, in Portsmouth, N.H., was honored by Food and Wine magazine as a "Best New Chef" of 2006. In 2007 she became the executive chef of Harvest, in the heart of Harvard Square near Harvard University, a restaurant that began celebrating farm-to-fork New England cuisine long before it became the trend. She has brought the restaurant’s food to a new level of creativity and innovation. Her secret ingredients in the Harvest kitchen are not only local produce but also all the herbs she grows in her own kitchen garden.
Mary's signature is her contemporary New England cuisine with classic French inspiration; she likes to tell a story with the seasons. Known for having a keen respect for local farmers and fishermen, as well as a passion for food preservation, she is famous for creating intricate dishes with a skilled hand. Having long been a proponent of children’s gardening programs and of improving the quality of school lunches, she is planning her own farm dinner series with local farms and friends to support sustainable farming in New England. Straightforward and honest, she doesn't mince words with her humor or her passion for food (she's been told the combination can be intimidating). In addition to the multiple award and accolades she has received, Mary is the first chef from New Hampshire ever to be honored in Food and Wine. She comes to this competition with Iron Chef experience, having battled Cat Cora on Iron Chef America in 2006.