Boston may be the birth place of the modern celebrity chef with the onset of Julia Child’s The French Chef TV series in 1963. And while inspired cooking on the culinary scene has seen its ups and downs over the decades, it has really begun to surge to positive new heights as of late. Much of the success has to do with a slew of celebrity chefs opening a series of nationally acclaimed restaurants, bistros and one of a kind dining experiences. Narrowing the field down to the top 5 was certainly not an easy task, though the 5 we have selected are certainly worthy of their spot on the list.
1 Todd English of Olives
Once named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, the dishes created at English’s hoard of restaurants – now located nationally – are equally as beautifully as they are stunningly delicious. Beginning with Olives in Charlestown in 1989, English now also owns a series of restaurants including Figs, Bonfire and Kingfish hall locally. English also has a host of TV credits including his own programs Cooking Under Fire and Cooking In with Todd English.
Olives is located locally at 10 City Square, Charlestown 617.242.1999
2 Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park
Lynch is a talent that never seems to stop, and fine dining foodies of Boston couldn’t be happier about that. With her latest creation, prix fixe Menton, is still the talk of the town more than 9 months after its opening. She was brought up in the Boston culinary scene under the tutelage of Todd English, opening her own first restaurant No. 9 Park in 1998. Her Barbara Lynch Gruppo currently oversees restaurants No. 9 Park and Menton as well as B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir, Drink, Sportello and catering company 9 at Home.
3 Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger
Even if you have not had the pleasure of dining at Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger, you have likely caught one of his programs or seen him on the Today Show or countless other national program. From Simply Ming cooking show, produced here in Boston at WGBH currently in its eight season, to his East Meets West cooking show and Ming’s Quest travel show, formerly on The Food Network, Tsai has become the national name in Eastern Western fusion cooking.
Blue Ginger is located at 583 Washington St., Wellesley 781.283.5790
4 Lydia Shire of Locke-Ober
Lydia Shire has a long history in Boston beginning with Season at Bostonian Hotel in 1982, BIBA (Back in Boston Again – after opening the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills) in 1989 and Pignoli in1994, now all in her past. In 2001, she rescued the beauty and grandeur of the historic Locke-Ober Restaurant, where she is still currently serving as Head Chef. She is also the creative mind behind Scampo at The Liberty Hotel and Blue Sky at the Atlantic House Hotel on York Beach in Maine.
Locke-Ober is located at 3 Winter Place, Downtown Crossing, Boston 617.542.1340
5 Jason Santos of Gargoyles on the Square
While Santos may not have the storied history in Boston as some other chefs on our list, his ability to hold his own and make it to second place on last year’s season of TV’s Hell’s Kitchen gave him both national attention and helped secure his place on the Boston culinary map. His adventurous cooking style at Gargoyles on the Square in Davis Square, Somerville has brought modern American cuisine with Asian influences to a new audience that has embraced it in the otherwise relaxed hipster scene.
Gargoyles on the Square is located at 219 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville 617.776.5300