Brad Kent brings a lifetime of cooking and culinary education to his current role as founder/chef/owner of Bagel + Slice, his Highland Park bagel and pizza shop inspired by his Jewish, east coast, deli-owner grandfather, Abraham Kantrowitz, whom he never met. Abe died prematurely and long ago in 1939, but the essence and intention of his Morristown, New Jersey deli lived on in Brad’s imagination, and Bagel+ Slice is the ultimate realization of his grandfather’s legacy.
At seven years old, with zero instruction or encouragement, Brad spontaneously started cooking and gardening, which unleashed his lifelong passion and dedication to make delicious food and to foster a reciprocal relationship between himself and nature.
While he studied business and marketing at U.S.C., his culinary passion continued to simmer and percolate, and in 1991, as a college senior, Brad successfully started two catering businesses having never worked in a restaurant. Always ahead of his time, his first catering business, “For Starters Catering,” focused on appetizers and tapas, while his second, “Bacchus Wine and Catering,” paired and served wine and food together.
Perhaps preordained, as his great uncle was an early dean of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park New York, Brad applied and attended the prestigious culinary academy where he honed his technical skills and graduated with honors in 1996. While attending CIA, he apprenticed with two of America’s pre-eminent, award-winning chefs, Charlie Palmer at Aureole and Joachim Splichal at Patina.
Upon graduation from CIA, Brad was recruited for a position as a product developer and food scientist for the functional ingredients supplier, Cyvex Nutrition. He simultaneously attended Cal State University Long Beach, where he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Food Science.
Armed with three degrees and an ever-developing skill set, Brad created a position for himself and was hired by the United States Department of Defense in Massachusetts, where from 1999- 2002 he functioned as their first research chef who focused on all-natural product development for field rations for the U.S. military. During this same time period, he additionally developed award-winning products for the German and Canadian militaries.
Brad then moved west to California where he led the sweet and savory products development and improvement team from 2002 – 2004 for the all-natural private label manufacturer “Two Chefs on a Roll.”
Recruited by a high-profile Florida-based family to be a private chef on their motor yacht, Brad moved back east in 2004. It was during this creative time that Brad developed his business plan for what would become his company, Blaze Pizza.
In 2007, Brad found himself in Los Angeles, California where in 2008 he developed the first mobile, wood-fired pizza business, Farmers Market Pizza. His newfound pizza passion and expertise culminated with the opening of the critically acclaimed Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria in Los Angeles in 2010. Ranked as one of the “Top-10 Destination Worthy Pizzas” by Zagat, Olio Pizza is currently located in L.A.’s beloved Grand Central Market.
Taking pizza to the next, mass level, Brad joined forces with his co-founders to launch Blaze Pizza. By 2015, Blaze Pizza had become the fastest-growing chain of restaurants in history.
While currently a founding partner of Blaze Pizza, Brad has poured a lifetime of culinary education and experience into the creation of his new business, Bagel + Slice, where exceptional bagels and pizza are served all day in a warm, neighborhood setting.
Bagel + Slice serves Brad’s local community in northeast Los Angeles, to which he and his family are deeply committed. He and his wife are active members of their local LAUSD Elementary PTA, and his wife serves as the local Girl Scouts troop leader. Brad and Bagel+ Slice give back generously to their community where they raise their kids, ages 8 and 10.
When Brad is not at Bagel + Slice, you can find him cooking and creating in his spacious Eagle Rock backyard, which is outfitted with a restaurant-grade kitchen equipped with an outdoor bagel and pizza oven of his own design