Thierry Rautureau hails from the town of Saint Hilaire de Clisson in the Muscadet region of France. His parents were farmers in a small agricultural community where the cows and chickens outnumbered the people. The family cooked only what they grew, thus providing a purely seasonal diet. As the oldest child, Rautureau was given the chore of doing the prep for dinner; and as such he quickly became acquainted with fresh homegrown ingredients at a young age.
At fourteen, Rautureau started a cooking apprenticeship in Anjou, France and at sixteen went on a Regional Tour de France and trained in the cities of Le Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, Chamonix in the French Alps, and Hendaye in the Pays Basque. At twenty, after six years of traditional French training, Rautureau headed for the United States and took his professional experience to La Fontaine with Jean Claude Poilevey in Chicago. After three years in Chicago, Rautureau moved to Los Angeles where he worked at the Regency Club with Joachim Splichal, and then The Seventh Street Bistro with Laurent Quenioux.
In 2013, Chef Thierry Rautureau opened Loulay Kitchen & Bar in the heart of downtown Seattle. Named for Chef Thierry Rautureau’s hometown of Saint Hilaire de Loulay in France, Loulay provides the ambiance and elegant decor that has come to be expected from the Chef in the hat restaurants while providing the humble tastes of home cooked French cuisine. Located at the bottom of the Sheraton Hotel in the epicenter of Seattle's downtown shopping district, Loulay offers delicious French cuisine with a splash of the Pacific Northwest. The menu delivers dishes with the perfect balance of comforting tastes inspired from the farm table Rautureau grew up around and the exquisite, fresh seafood that only the Pacific Northwest can provide; such as seared albacore served with leek fondue, burdock root purée, and hearts of palm.
In 2014, Loulay received press from both local and nationally known sources. Highlights include; being named "Best Restaurant of 2014" by Seattle Met Magazine and Thrillist mentions on "Seattle's 10 best new burgers of 2014", "The 21 best new restaurants in America", "Seattle's 11 best new restaurants of 2014", & "Winter Restaurant (and Bar!) Preview: 7 Seattle places to get excited about". 
In 2010, Rautureau opened Luc, a casual French-American café and bar named after the his late father, Luc Rautureau. Being primarily local, seasonal and sustainable, Luc’s food is heavily influenced by the French comfort food Rautureau grew up eating on his parents’ farm.
In order to raise money to open Luc, the established chef pre-sold gift certificates. Interested parties were offered three gift certificates valued at $435, which could be used over the course of three years for $1,000. The names of these "Founding Diners" are now featured in Luc on bronze plaques.
The two paintings in the dining room are both artistic interpretations of old Rautureau family photographs, one of Rautureau as a boy and another of his parents as a young couple, which were rendered by a Seattle-based French artist named Isa Darleans.
While visiting Seattle in 1987, Rautureau dined at Rover’s and discovered that the restaurant was for sale. He decided to buy the restaurant so that he could express his culinary creativity as the chef/owner while enjoying the Pacific Northwest.
Rautureau says of his cooking philosophy: “it starts with freshness and continues with treating all ingredients with attention.” He identifies the cuisine at Rover’s as “Northwest contemporary with a French accent.” His cuisine also contains Mediterranean overtones and various Asian elements. Overall his cuisine is aligned with the philosophy of "food as art". Rover's closed its doors on June 23, 2013.
Since Rautureau opened Rover's in 1987, the restaurant and chef have received local and national press recognition. Articles have appeared in such publications as Time Magazine, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, The Wine Spectator, Food Arts, Vancouver Magazine, Seattle Magazine, the New York Times, Sunset, USA Today, Seattle Times’ Pacific Magazine, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Fortune, Business Week, and Art Culinaire. He has also been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre Du Mérite Agricole by the French Government and the award for The Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest by the James Beard Foundation.
In addition, pieces about Luc have been printed in several publications including Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan, and the Seattle Weekly.
Loulay Kitchen & Bar was named Best New Restaurant of 2014 by Seattle Met Magazine and received national recognition in publications such as Thrillist articles; "Seattle's 10 best new burgers of 2014", "The 21 best new restaurants in America", "Seattle's 11 best new restaurants of 2014", & "Winter Restaurant (and Bar!) Preview: 7 Seattle places to get excited about". Best New Restaurant of 2014: Loulay Seattle Met 2014
Seattle's 10 best new burgers of 2014 Thrillist
The 21 best new restaurants in America Thrillist
Seattle's 11 best new restaurants of 2014 Thrillist
Winter Restaurant (and Bar!) Preview: 7 Seattle places to get excited about Thrillist. 
The 25 Most Important Restaurants of 2013 Zagat
Seattle’s Top Food: Zagat 1993-2009
Best Service in Seattle: Zagat 2002-2009
Outstanding Food and Service: DiRoNa 1997-2005
Distinguished Dining Ambassador: DiRoNA 2002
Four Stars: Mobil Travel Guide 1998-2008
Award Of Excellence: The Wine Spectator 1997-2002, 2008
Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest: The James Beard Foundation Awards 1998
Four Diamond Award: AAA 1998-2008
Number One Top Seattle Choice: Gourmet Magazine 1996, 1998, 2000
Restaurant of the Year, Readers’ Choice Award: Seattle Magazine 1998
Top Fine Dining Restaurant in Seattle: The Wine Spectator 1998
Best French Food in Seattle: Food & Wine September 1998
Fine Dining Hall of Fame Award: Nations Restaurant News 1998
Best Overall, Critics’ Choice Award: Seattle Magazine 2000, 2001
Best Overall, Editors’ Choice Award: Where Magazine 2001
Best Restaurant, Chefs’ Choice Award: Where Magazine 2001
Best Seattle Restaurant: Northwest Palate Magazine 2000
Best Overall Dining, Visitors’ Choice: Where Magazine 2002
Best Washington Wine Reserve: Washington Wine Restaurant Awards 2003, 2004,2005
Best Service, Readers’ Choice Award: Seattle Magazine 1999
Best of Award Of Excellence: The Wine Spectator 2003, 2004, 2005
Best Restaurant, Chefs’ Choice Award: Where Magazine 2004
Best Overall Dining, Visitors’ Choice: Where Magazine 2004
Best Service: Washington Wine Restaurant Awards 2004
Best Restaurant in Seattle: Citysearch 2002
Top Ten Best: Seattle Magazine 2005
Best Romantic Restaurant: AOL City Guide 2005
Best All-Around Restaurant: AOL City Guide 2005
Thierry’s Induction Into: Les Maitres Cuisiniers de France 1998
Chevalier de l’Ordre Du Mérite Agricole: The French Government 2004
From 2003 to 2010, Rautureau was the co-host of the talk radio show “In The Kitchen with Tom and Thierry” with fellow chef Tom Douglas on KIRO 97.3FM. The two chefs conducted interviews with people in the food world, recounted recipes, gave a wine of the week and discussed food in the news.
In 2012, Rautureau and Douglas returned to KIRO Radio with "Seattle Kitchen," heard Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 10am on 97.3 FM in Seattle. After a few months of ratings success, the show was extended to two hours.
On television, Rautureau was featured on the Food Network's“Dining Around” and “Ready, Set, Cook!," Ming Tsai's “Simply Ming,” the PBS Series “French Fest," and the Discovery Channel series “ Great Chefs from the Great Cities." Rautureau has also been a celebrity chef judge for the PBS series “MasterChef USA."
Rautureau's most well-known television appearance is as a contestant on the second season of the Bravo reality series Top Chef Masters. Rautureau competed against Monica Pope (T'afia), Carmen González (Chef Consultant), David Burke (David Burke Townhouse), and the eventual winner of the season, Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster, Aquavit) in the second episode entitled "Top Chef Masters Season 2: It's My Party." The challenge for the chefs was to cook a meal inspired by soul food for actor Mekhi Phifer's birthday party. González and Samuelsson advanced, while Pope, Rautureau and Burke were eliminated.
In 2012, Rautureau returned as a contestant on season four of Top Chef Masters. He made it to the fifth round before being eliminated.
In July 2013, Chef Rautureau participated in the making of reality YouTube series, Kitchen Circus. Three home cooks make one course for 45 diners. Chef Thierry Rautureau guides contestants from cooking through service. Will it be Angel, Siri or Beth who makes the diner's favorite course? Celebrity Guests include: Tom Douglas (Seattle Restaurateur), Steve Scher (NPR Radio Host), Marty Riemer (Radio Host). The series had a total of 4 episodes concluded with a finale. Watch all the episodes, here.
TV programming channel KCTS9 produced a behind-the-scenes interview with Chef Thierry Rautureau which was put out on Nov. 3, 2014. Take a look at the full interview.
Rautureau is on the Board of Directors for Food Lifeline, a Western Washington non-profit that provides food to 675,000 people through food banks, hot meal programs, shelters, and more. Rautureau also participates in various other community and charity events and fundraisers, such as the opening of the Dale Turner YMCA in Shoreline, WA.
Rautureau is married to Kathleen Encell-Rautureau, a floral designer who also does arrangements for the restaurants. She was also the impetus for the chef's nickname. It was Kathy who gave Rautureau a fedora for Christmas, which he wore almost unceasingly. One evening, Rautureau entered the dining room at Rover's to speak with a guest without removing his hat. The guest exclaimed: “Look, it’s the Chef in the Hat!." Other guests overheard the comment, and the phrase eventually became his nickname.