A lucky woman discovers her passion at a young age.
17 years after her first restaurant gig – she was 15 years young then – Minneapolis native Rachel Bonhus is still enamored with the industry. Only now she goes by a different name –“chef.”
By the time she reached her twenties, Bonhus had, enviably, named two important things: a career and a sandwich. Her first kitchen job was at the Bryn Mawr Pizza & Deli, where she invented a sandwich that became her namesake: the Tuff Roachel.
Delis. Dive bars. International fare. Bonhus never passed on an opportunity to hone her culinary chops. After working for the Twin Cities’ former Table of Contents, she yielded to her nascent wanderlust – heading east with banjo in tow – and began working as Head Line Cook at an acclaimed Asian-fusion restaurant in Baltimore called Soigne.
Three years later, Bonhus relocated to New York City, where she assumed dual roles as Pastry Chef and Assistant Chef at Superfine. A darling of Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, the restaurant served seasonal farm-to-table Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Under the direction of Laura Taylor, Bonhus cultivated her talents and her appreciation for fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Inevitably, the call of faux wood paneling and taxidermy was too hard to ignore. Who could blame her? Bonhus headed to Brooklyn Ice House – a signature dive bar – and crafted new pub food specials, including a homemade mayonnaise recipe featured in Esquire.
Eager to try her hand at international cuisine, Bonhus took an Executive Chef position at the Cubana Social in Williamsburg two years later. Her accomplishments included creating a green kitchen and coupling saucy, complex Cuban flavors with simple ingredients. She later transitioned to Jalopy Tavern, an Americana restaurant connected to a theater, which – ahem – sounds familiar.
After a brief stint at the critically acclaimed Buttermilk Channel, Bonhus found her way back to her hometown, and she is excited about the blossoming culinary scene coming to life in the Twin Cities. Her eclectic and versatile background – from burger joints to classy establishments – render her well-equipped to infuse any menu with innovation and creativity.
Bryant-Lake Bowl is lucky to have Rachel at the helm.