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By Victoria Abbott Riccardi | August 29, 2011 | Food & Drink
Beyond our celebrity chefs, Boston has a slew of men and women shaping the local food and drink scene—writing about it, editing it, creating and growing it. Here, some of our coolest culinary stars weigh in on all things edible and potable (or not).
On-air personality and executive producer for TV Diner at New England Cable News, host of Comcast Newsmakers, and the Daily Candy correspondent for NECN’s The Morning Show
Recipe for success: Beyond family support and workplace mentors, my BlackBerry Bold is never more than an inch from me.
Next big thing: One-stop shopping, like the new Legal Harborside, where you’ve got your market [for fresh fish and prepared foods], your roof-deck bar and a fine-dining restaurant.
How to track a trend: I read The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Chowhound, Twitter—these social networking sites are driving the industry!
Favorite Boston bites: Chicken shawarma Greek salad from Cafe Jaffa, with the chicken well done and topped with their amazing Greek dressing.
Greatest culinary adventure: Without a doubt, Peru. It’s a magical place. The ceviches had this freshness that we don’t experience here. There were peppers like I’ve never had before, potatoes of all kinds, easily over 100 types, and about 30 varieties of corn.
Won't order: Zucchini—there’s something about the texture that I can’t wrap my taste buds around.
Always hungry for: My mother’s tuna casserole and noodle pudding, a family recipe done with corn flakes on top. I can eat it hot, cold or burnt.
A self-described “apple geek,” she’s author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, to be released by W.W. Norton & Company this September. Traverso is the food, home and gardening editor at Yankee magazine and “would love to run a food truck that focuses on pies: fruit, cream and whoopie.”
Recipe for success: My strength as a food/ recipe writer is that I have an appreciation for home cooking as something distinct from restaurant cooking.
Next big thing: Food-based microeconomies. New England has taken its place as a leader in the American food revolution— we have more artisanal cheese makers in the Northeast than in the entire western half of the United States.
How to track a trend: Talking to chefs is the most important thing—asking them what they’re excited about, what they’ve discovered.
Favorite Boston bites: Gnocchi in cream sauce with shaved white truffles at No. 9 Park. That’s about as good as it gets.
Greatest culinary adventure: The Pigs and Pinot dinner, an annual celebration of Pinot Noir and pork that Charlie Palmer hosts. The quality of the wine, much of it unavailable to the general public, is something I’ll never forget.
Won't order: Offal for offal’s sake. If it tastes good, fine, but I don’t get the macho thing.
Always hungry for: Unlimited carbs.
A trained furniture maker, Maul is bar manager at Clio, where he’s renovated, expanded and rocketed the cocktail list into the stratosphere. It should come as no surprise that he’s currently working on a drink book with a friend.
Recipe for success: I reexamine how the components of a drink interact with one another. For example, a gin and tonic consists of four elements: gin, tonic, ice and lime. Over time gin has gotten better, tonic has improved, but no one has looked at how the lime and the ice affect the drink. I want to look at them as components that can be manipulated.
Next big cocktail trend: Learning why and how the kitchen does certain things and moving those ideas with real purpose to the bar.
Favorite Boston cocktail: Here at Clio we make a clarified lime gimlet with citrus paint. Lime juice, when clarified with a centrifuge, becomes brighter. It has a very different mouthfeel and therefore interacts with the gin on a very different level.
Greatest spirits adventure: A gin and tonic at the Château Frontenac. FDR and Churchill drank there and talked strategy during WWII. Sometimes drinks are just drinks, and you have to see the bigger picture.
Won't order: The French Martini. I’m not sure why it’s French (Chambord aside), and it’s not a martini.
Always thirsty for: A Krug Champagne toast with my wife at my 50th wedding anniversary (that would make me 88). I could go out happy.
This online trend tracker is the Boston editor for Grub Street, a popular food website based in New York. She’s also a ghostwriter and author who is hot for hot sauce.
Recipe for success: It’s important to be candid, genuine and funny—to write to an audience as though you’re actually speaking to them as friends. Readers are real people!
Next culinary trend: Niche dining—you go to one place for samosas, another for hot dogs and so on.
Finding the next best thing: Often the next big thing is actually a collection of many little things. It’s tempting to always be on the lookout for something huge, when it’s the small moments that can be equally meaningful and provocative..
Favorite Boston bites: I’m a down-anddirty, tacos and dim sum kind of person. I love Cantina La Mexicana in Union Square, Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown for the oyster pancakes, Qingdao Garden in North Cambridge for dumplings and Dorado Tacos & Cemitas in Brookline for their fish tacos..
Memorable culinary adventure: I still dream about the meal I had in Barcelona for my 30th birthday at the counter of Cal Pep. We just pointed at dishes we liked and they arrived in front of us. Pep is a character—a big guy with enormous glasses who gesticulates and jokes with customers—which only added to the fun!
Won't order: I absolutely detest raisins and Jell-O.
Always hungry for: Lamb vindaloo, chile rellenos, a huge platter of nachos and clams in spicy marinara sauce.
He goes by Farmer Chris at Siena Farms, his 50- acre diversified vegetable farm, which supplies area farmers’ markets and restaurants like Henrietta’s Table, Menton and wife, Ana Sortun’s, Oleana.
Recipe for success: Unapologetic hedonism. I got into farming because of the sheer ecstasy of working a field, creating beautiful food and tasting a harvest.
Next culinary trend: “Wild” crops—on our farm that includes things like stinging nettles, foraged mushrooms, purslane, grape leaves and lamb’s quarters. There’s a mysterious compaction and complexion of flavor and healthfulness when eating or foraging wild crops.
Favorite Boston bites: My wife’s fried haloumi cheese at Oleana for dinner and Sofra’s cashew bites for dessert (or for breakfast, for that matter).
Greatest culinary adventure: My last dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Ana and I were both deeply touched by the beauty and freshness of the preparations, from the bean blossom salad that Dan Barber harvested for us earlier in the day to the after-dinner drinks outside under the full moon.
Won't order: Frog’s legs.
Always hungry for: Big bottle of Brunello with a nice buttery steak on top of a pile of grilled Ailsa Craig onions and a side of wrinkled, crinkled cress.