Food and service have been part of Renae Connolly’s life for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Fresno, California, her earliest memories are of sitting on the tailgate of her family’s truck, munching on popcorn while they sold food at local fairs, and eating her Armenian grandmother’s rice pilaf and dolmas. In high school, Renae took on a dishwashing job at a local bakery and quickly moved up the ranks to become an assistant baker. Realizing her love of pastry early on, she enrolled in the California Culinary Academy and graduated by the time she was 19. In Fresno, Renae worked as the pastry chef at The Chef’s Table for two years before moving across the country to Boston, where she took a position at Clio working under pastry chef Rick Billings. When Billings left in 2008, she was promoted to pasty chef, a position she held until 2011. During that time, Renae took part in Clio’s 10th anniversary dinner, which allowed her share the kitchen with chefs from all over the world. Her time at Clio also led Renae to meet her now-husband, Stephen, a fellow Clio employee who bonded with her over their mutual love for the restaurant industry. An opportunity to work with the David Burke group took Renae to New York, where she later worked at Marea and Aretsky’s Patroon. Two years later, Renae returned to Boston with her new husband where she switched gears and moved behind the bar, working with Todd Maul, the head bartender at Clio. During a stint at Commonwealth Restaurant and Market in Cambridge, Renae continued to tend bar while launching Tiny Spoons Market Jams, a line of house-made jams and jellies that were sold on site. In 2014, Renae joined the opening team of Café ArtScience as Pastry Chef. Here, she takes inspiration from the passion and dedication she sees in her coworkers, even incorporating her skills honed from years behind the bar to create collaborative cocktail-inspired sweets with Café ArtScience Bar Director and longtime friend, Todd Maul. In 2015, Renae was recognized as one of StarChefs.com’s Boston-area Rising Stars alongside Café ArtScience Executive Chef, Patrick Campbell. When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find Renae taking her scooter out for a spin or making waffles at home with her husband..