The Untold Truth Of Koren Grieveson

Koren Grieveson is a renowned chef who has worked in acclaimed restaurants in Chicago and New York. She's appeared as a judge on Season 4 of Bravo's "Top Chef," competed in Season 7 of "Iron Chef America," (via IMDb) and has won awards for her restaurant work in the Chicago culinary scene. While Grieveson is very well-known in the culinary world, you may have heard her name before and wondered who she is.

Even if you don't know much about the celebrated chef, you may remember that she made headlines in 2012 when her then-fiancée Anne Burrell announced the couple's engagement on social media. However, as a representative for Burrell told Page Six, Grieveson is a private person and keeps her personal life outside the public eye. Here's everything you need to know about Grieveson and her career, from her childhood to her career path toward becoming one of the country's most acclaimed chefs.

Grieveson has lived around the world

In her cooking, Grieveson likes to play with flavors and influences from all over the world through her global perspective on food. This is inspired in part by her childhood, during which she lived with her family in several different countries before they moved to the United States so she and her sisters could go to school in the country, according to Food & Wine. She was born in Angola, a country in Southern Africa.

Grieveson's father worked in the poultry industry, which is what led the family to travel so much. Throughout her childhood, her father's job took Grieveson and her family to Brazil, England, and Iran. They eventually moved to Glastonbury, Connecticut, and settled there for good. "I do remember the food in all of these places, and that probably plays a role in my culinary perspective. My mother was an excellent cook, but we ate a lot of damn chicken," Grieveson told Food & Wine.

Grieveson has a military background

Grieveson didn't always know that she wanted to be a chef, and she initially pursued a different career path in the military, shares Food & Wine. She joined the United States Army when she was 17 and served for eight years. Grieveson said that she didn't really understand the commitment she was signing up for initially, but she stuck with her decision as a "stubborn" teenager who had set her mind to join the army after meeting with a recruiter. The honest reason for her decision? "I really wanted to drive those Jeeps. But the year I joined, they switched out the Jeeps for Humvees!"

Vehicles aside, Grieveson is thankful for the time she spent in the army. She noted that she served Stateside while the country was at peace, so her experience was different from that of the troops that came after her. Ultimately, the time Grieveson spent in the military taught her a lot and set her up for her new career in foodservice.

How Grieveson started her career in food

After finishing her time in the army, Grieveson got her start in food by working catering gigs for rock bands in New York and then cooking at concerts and festivals across the country, she told Food & Wine. She catered at Lollapalooza and made food for big-name acts like the Rolling Stones and the Eagles before she realized she needed something more. Grieveson's dad suggested that she "get a career, not just a job," which motivated her to apply to and attend culinary school.

Grieveson ended up studying at the Culinary Institute of America before working in prestigious kitchens around the country, per Gazetteday. She worked at Aqua in San Francisco and Spruce in Chicago before starting at Paul Kahan's Blackbird, where she worked from 1998 to 2003. She then went on to work with Kahan at Avec before becoming executive chef at the acclaimed Resto in New York.

Grieveson's James Beard Award

Grieveson has received one of the highest honors that a chef or restaurant can earn: a James Beard Award, of course, according to the organization's website. Grieveson earned the designation for Best Chef (Great Lakes Region) in 2010 for the work she did at the restaurant Avec in Chicago, Gapers Block reported. She won against several other chefs in the region, including Michael Carlson of the restaurant Schwa, Arun Sampanthavivat of Arun's, and North Pond's Bruce Sherman. She had also been nominated the previous year alongside her mentor, Paul Kahan from Blackbird, but did not win.

The 2010 award was presented to Grieveson by chef Rick Bayless, who was ecstatic to give her the award and praised Avec and her work. He told Grub Street, "You know, I eat her food all the time. ... It's my daughter's favorite place. There's nothing quite like Avec."

Grieveson's relationship with Anne Burrell

Grieveson was once in a relationship with fellow culinary expert Anne Burrell. The two celebrated chefs got engaged in Puerto Rico in 2012 but ultimately called off their wedding, says HollywoodMask. As Grieveson generally prefers to keep her personal life private, most of what was shared about their relationship came from Burrell's social media posts and interviews.

Grieveson moved to New York in September of 2012 to be with Burrell, and the couple was engaged by New Year's Eve of that year, The Daily Meal reports. Burell shared the news on Twitter, later telling Entertainment Tonight that her schedule was very busy after the engagement, so she and Grieveson weren't seeing each other as much but planned on having a destination wedding. Vieques, the Puerto Rican island where they got engaged, was a contender for the location. Ultimately, the couple did not get married and split, it would appear, without making an announcement.