Renae Connolly Sweetens the Opening Team at Benedetto

The pastry chef, known for works of art at Café ArtScience, has joined the forthcoming second act from the Giulia team.
Renae Connolly

Renae Connolly. / Photo by Wayne Chinnock

Giulia chef Michael Pagliarini hinted at some forthcoming all-star hires when he announced his second restaurant, Benedetto, this summer, and he wasn’t bluffing. The restaurant taking over the former Rialto space at the Charles Hotel will have a sweet pastry program, led by the venerable Renae Connolly.

Connolly shared the news on social media earlier this month.

Most recently pastry chef at Café ArtScience, Connolly is known for technically dazzling, whimsical creations, like the Edge of the Forest, a tree-shaped Greek pastry kataifi dusted with almond “snow,” and the Tiny Spoons trio. No details on her Benedetto sweets just yet, but in July, Pagliarini hinted at house-made gelati, biscotti, and torta.

“It’s [the Giulia team’s] next journey to Italy, to all the diverse regions,” Pagliarini said of Benedetto’s cuisine. “We’re going to dig deep into traditions, and be good interpreters of those traditions. We’ll have the best Italian speciality ingredients, but most importantly, the best of our local purveyors, and try to have a seamless marriage of the two.”

Before helping to open Café ArtScience, Connolly attended the California Culinary Academy and started her career in Fresno, her hometown, per her StarChefs bio. She moved to Boston to work at Clio, eventually taking over for Rick Billings as pastry chef at Ken Oringer’s late, modernist original. She has also worked at Michael White’s Marea in New York City.

The pastry maven is a Giulia regular. Earlier this year, Connolly told Metro she and her husband “love the bar… for our date nights. Wine, pasta and ribeye—perfection.”

Benedetto will have a huge house-made pasta focus, and a rolling table as a centerpiece. The upscale, 220-seat restaurant could open in November.

Benedetto, opening fall 2016 at the Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, charleshotel.com.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com