Born and raised in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, Kevin got his feet wet in hospitality at a young age working at a variety of mom and pop spots throughout high school, gaining experience from dishwasher to pizza cook. It wasn’t until he graduated, however, that he truly stepped into the restaurant industry. Under the mentorship of Chef Walter Slater at Junction Pizzeria in Wickford, Kevin truly fell in love with cooking and the undeniable adrenaline of the kitchen.
While there, Kevin was inspired to enroll in the Johnson & Wales Continuing Education program which afforded him the chance to intern in Italy, an exciting opportunity to connect with his heritage and explore the country’s cuisine. After four months, he returned home to Rhode Island and worked alongside Chef Aaron Edwards at Trattoria del Corso in East Greenwich. Here, Kevin’s love for Italian food blossomed, but after a year he was pulled back to Italy.
For two and a half years, Kevin fully immersed himself in Italian culture and cuisine under Chef Lorenzo Polegri at Ristorante Zeppelin in Orvieto. It’s here that he first experienced the creativity of freestyle, non-traditional Italian cooking. Kevin credits the time spent under Polegri’s tutelage, with inspiring him to think outside the box in the kitchen.
Back in the States, Kevin cooked at the famed Castle Hill Inn in Newport and then the Michelin-Starred Del Posto in New York City under Chef Mark Ladner. Opportunity again came knocking, and he headed back to Europe, this time to Paris. Kevin opened L’Office as Executive Chef where he garnered rave reviews and recognition both locally and internationally for this bistro’s melding of French and Italian cuisine. L’Office earned a Bib Gourmand award in the Michelin Guide, Best New Bistro in Paris by Le Guide Lebey and was featured in American publications such as Bon Appetit and Eater.
In 2012, Kevin joined forces with the owners of The Salty Pig in Boston and developed its pasta program. Three years later, the team collaborated on a new concept and in January 2016, he opened his first restaurant SRV with co-chef Michael Lombardi. The Venetian-style Bacaro and wine bar was an immediate success, earning a 4-star review from Boston magazine and a James Beard Award nomination.
Kevin lives in Rhode Island with his wife, Sarah, and their son Ray. They own Giusto and are co-owners of Mother Pizzeria with partners Lauren Schaefer and Kyle Stamps. Kevin serves on the Board of Directors for the RI Hospitality Education Foundation and is a core instructor at Boston University in the Culinary Arts Program founded by Chefs Jacques Pepin and Julia Childs.
05-Feb-2024Culinary StageCulinary Demo - Kevin O'Donnell