Letter from the Editor: Exceptionalism and Expansion in Boston Vol: 119

April 2015

It’s been a while, Boston. The StarChefs team came to town this year to taste with Rising Stars candidates for the first time since 2009. We scoured the city, meeting more than 100 chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, brewers, bartenders, and artisans before announcing the 49th class of Rising Stars Award winners that are showcased here.

Along the way, we experienced everything from updated Chinese take-out classics and superb Bostonian staples (think brown bread and oyster pan roasts) to innovative Southern-style desserts and home-grown donuts (not the Dunkin variety).

We ate our fare share in the city center, but the local restaurant scene is spreading the love beyond downtown and Cambridge. Somerville is now home to exceptional bakeries, wine bars, and butcher shops—not to mention a James Beard-nominated, modern Middle Eastern restaurant. Even Tony Maws chose a Somerville address for his newest project, Kirkland Tap and Trotter. That’s not to mention Ran Duan’s The Baldwin Bar in Woburn, Fairsted and Ribelle in Brookline, and Sycamore in Newton.

Boston bartenders are also expanding their reach. With more restaurants and hotels investing in their beverage programs and talent, it’s easy to find balanced, often culinary-leaning cocktails in every nook of the city. Boston has historically fancied Sherry, and its modern-day mixos are blending the fortified Spanish wine into any number of cobblers and low-ABV concoctions. They’re also introducing its nutty, saline qualities to agave-based spirits.

We’re also excited to see so many talented women. Thanks to the hard work and exceptionalism of pioneering women chefs, such as Lydia Shire, Barbara Lynch, Ana Sortun, Susan Regis, and Jodi Adams, women in Boston have a serious stake in and impact on the industry. This class of Rising Stars is 43 percent women—our highest number yet.  And we’re celebrating their accomplishments as Rising Stars here (along with those of their male comrades).

Antoinette Bruno
Will Blunt
Managing Editor