Mary Dumont is a native of New Hampshire and was raised in a family of restaurateurs. She grew up watching her parents grow their businesses into great successes. After attending Simmons College in Boston for Literature, Mary followed a whim and moved to San Francisco at the age of 21. She immersed herself in the culture of food and dining and knew it was her calling. Mary knew that the only way to succeed was to plan a serious course, so she began working with such culinary talents as Traci Des Jardins of San Francisco's Jardiniere, Laurent Manrique of Campton Place and Daniel Patterson of Elizabeth Daniel. Further honing her skills, she worked at Blackbird in Chicago and then was called back to California by Chef Manrique to be the executive chef at Sonoma Saveurs in Sonoma, California. Chef Manrique had become Mary’s mentor and taught her the art of respecting the past and refining her palate. Mary returned home to New England in 2005 and was the opening chef at The Dunaway Restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she was honored by Food and Wine magazine as a "Best New Chef" of 2006. In 2007, Mary became the executive chef of Harvest in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a restaurant in the heart of Harvard Square, near Harvard University celebrating farm-to-fork New England cuisine long before it became the trend. Mary has brought the food to a new level of creativity and innovation. Her secret ingredient in the Harvest kitchen is not only all the local produce but all the herbs she grows in her own kitchen garden.
Mary's signature is her contemporary New England cuisine with classic French inspiration; she likes to tell a story with the seasons. She is known for having a keen respect for local farmers and fishermen, plus a passion for food preservation, and creating intricate dishes with a skilled hand. Mary has long been a proponent of children’s gardening programs and increasing the quality of school lunches; she is planning her own farm dinner series with local farms and friends to support sustainable farming in New England. Mary is straightforward, honest and doesn't mince words with her humor or her passion for food; she's been told the combination can be intimidating. In addition to the multiple awards and accolades she has received, Mary is the first chef from New Hampshire ever to be honored in Food and Wine. She competed in the 3rd season of The Next Iron Chef, which aired October 3, 2010. Mary has also competed on Iron Chef America, as she battled Cat Cora in 2006.