James Rigato from "Top Chef: Boston" is one of the chefs competing in season 12 of the Bravo reality cooking competition. He is the executive chef at The Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake, Michigan. He grew up though in Howell, Michigan. He earned his degree in Culinary Arts from Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan.
 
James Rigato's philosophy on cooking stems from a lifelong love of food and an appreciation for the diverse agricultural area in which he was raised. His Italian grandparents were early culinary influences, exposing him to the Italian culture and art of handcrafted cuisine that has shaped his approach to the chef profession. Chef Rigato entered the restaurant business at age 14 as a dishwasher at a local diner. After enrolling in Schoolcraft College's Culinary program at 17, he spent the next eight years working in some of metro Detroit's finer restaurants, including Morel's, Shiraz, Rugby Grille at The Townsend Hotel and Bacco Ristorante.

At age 26, Chef Rigato opened The Root Restaurant & Bar. His pursuit to localize Michigan's food economy stretches into involvement with local schools, hospitals, libraries and other organizations to create a necessary and sustainable change for the state. Chef Rigato's contemporary American cuisine with a Michigan focus has garnered regional and national attention, including a Food & Wine "The People's Best New Chef: Great Lakes" nomination and The Detroit Free Press 2012 Restaurant of the Year award.



In 2013, Rigato earned the title of Best Chef by Hour Detroit and was featured on the Cooking Channel's new series "America's Best Bites." In 2014 he was awarded Best Chef by Hour Detroit for a second year in a row as well as Best Restaurant for General Excellence.

An avid poet and advocate for all things Michigan, if not working he can be found in some corner of the state exploring, cycling, kayaking, eating or camping.




FACTS

Where does he live? Find out here.

Age: ∼31 years old
Hometown: Howell, MI
Current Residence: White Lake, MI


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'Top Chef: Charleston' Reveals 8 Returning Chefs — Premiering Thursday, December 1, the fourteenth season of the Bravo culinary competition series will bring back veterans Sam Talbot, Casey Thompson, Amanda Baumgarten, Brooke Williamson, Sheldon Simeon, John Tesar, Shirley Chung and Katsuji Tanabe. Read more...
'Top Chef' Heads to Charleston for Battle of Old Versus New — Premiering Thursday, December 1, the fourteenth season of the Bravo culinary competition series will see eight acclaimed chefs from across the country unpack their knives alongside eight chefs from seasons past, who have never won the prestigious title and are back for redemption. Read more...
'Top Chef 13' Returns to Its Roots in California — Premiering Wednesday, December 2, the new season of the Bravo culinary competition series travels to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Oakland and the Greater Palm Springs area. Read more...
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