Louisa Kasdon makes a poignant, gutsy case against Boston’s long-standing, sometimes insular culinary hierarchy in Stuff magazine, in response to Boston magazine’s recently published “culinary tree.” In it, it’s possible to trace the careers of many top Boston chefs back to the usual mentors: Barbara Lynch, Lydia Shire, Todd English, and so forth. But what if you’re crazy talented and got your start scrubbing pots in a sub shop? Or simply hail from someplace that’s, well, not Boston?
In other major cities, culinary trailblazers emerge from dazzlingly diverse backgrounds. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to have worked under a major chef, but it’s not a one-way ticket to fame and glory, either. So why should Boston remain beholden to pedigree? It shouldn’t. “I am beginning to feel that our constant buffing of its glory is actually a limiter of local cooking excitement, a smug reminder of our city’s very parochial, ‘No new ideas please, we’re Boston’ tendency,” Kasdon writes.
Yes, she says, it’s time to shed our closed-minded, cozy-chummy ways. An in with stars like Barbara or Lydia doesn’t have to be the sole route to success. Boston’s culinary future depends on it. “It must be a culinary destination where anyone with talent and drive can succeed and not be penalized for being an out-of-towner,” she says. Save that kind of snobbery for 93 at rush hour.
Begone, Begats [Stuff]