Koren Grieveson is an American chef who was born in Luanda, Angola in 1971. The young Grieveson saw a lot of relocation owing to her father’s business (poultry). In her early years, Grieveson made her home in countries as far removed from each other as Brazil, England, Iran, and Zimbabwe. Eventually, the family returned to the US and made a home in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
At 17, Grieveson signed up for the US army. Her mother attempted to dissuade her, reminding her that she would be committing 8 years of her life to the service. Even so, Grieveson insisted.
In an interview, Grieveson joked that the real reason she joined the army at the time was a desire to drive the jeeps being used by the forces back then. Unfortunately for her, the standard issue vehicles were replaced by Humvees shortly after she joined. Grieveson stated that she was “happy” she did her time, nevertheless, and that she “learned a lot”.
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Upon finishing her 8 years in the forces, Grieveson went into a line of work that would eventually bring her to her true calling. She was part of a catering outfit for music events in New York and New Jersey. Some of the events they covered included Lollapalooza and concerts for the Rolling Stones.
Grieveson’s father intervened at this point, however, and insisted that she find a career as opposed to a job. Taking his advice, Grieveson applied to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She was accepted.
From there, Grieveson went on to pursue the career she had been born to do. Her earlier experiences in life stood her in good stead as her earlier travels gave her a global culinary perspective. Years later, her favorite dish from her childhood remained one from South Africa: boerewors, a spiced meat sausage. Grieveson also admitted in interviews that she and her sisters had to eat “a lot of damn chicken” when they were younger (owing to their father’s business), but that her mother let them have the taste of good cooking nevertheless.
She got her formal start in the industry by working for San Francisco Chef Michael Mina at Aqua in 1996. This was followed by time spent at Spruce under the instruction of Chef Keith Luce, and then at Crofton on Wells under Chef Suzy Crofton.
What many might consider her big break came after being hired by major Chicago chef-restaurateur Paul Kahan. In 1998, Grieveson worked as sous chef in one of Kahan’s most renowned restaurants, Blackbird. After that, she went on to pin another feather to her cap by launching the wine bar Avec with Kahan. This was in 2003, and she served as both chef de cuisine and floor manager of the new restaurant.
Then, in 2007, Grieveson went on to run another gastro bar, Resto. Often described as having either Belgian- or Mediterranean-tilting cuisine, the Murray Hill-located restaurant won Grieveson’s signature culinary touch further acclaim from professional critics. The year after Resto came under her direction, Grieveson was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs.
Since then, Grieveson has continued to earn further recognition for her work, being named a James Beard Awardee for the Best Chef title in the Great Lakes area in 2010. She has also made appearances in several cooking shows, including Top Chef and Iron Chef.
On the personal front, Grieveson is currently in a relationship with another famous American restaurateur, Chef Anne Burrell, who cohabits with Grieveson in New York City. The couple announced their engagement to each other on New Year’s Day in 2013 via Twitter.