So, exactly how has Boston's food scene changed?
As the chef and co-owner of two popular South End restaurants, Toro and Coppa, Jamie Bissonnette has been testing his diners with nose-to-tail cooking for years. With a James Beard award under his belt, he’s had a huge influence on the city's scene, particularly in the way we think about cured meats.
“Boston is such a great city for food," he says. "Many of the talented sous-chefs and chefs de cuisine of the last generation [have now opened] their own spots. There is a great community in our industry, but the sense of collaboration and support among chefs in Boston is the best I've seen in any city.”
Not only are local chefs evolving, it appears the diners are, too. Consumers are taking more of an interest in how food gets to their plate (hence the whole farm-to-table trend and organic food movement). This new level of curiosity leads to a demand for higher-quality dishes. But to Matt Jennings, chef of Downtown's prominent Townsman, this is also something that's quintessentially Boston: expecting the absolute best and accepting nothing less. “Bostonians have no problem telling you when they disagree with what you’re doing as a chef or restaurateur," he says. "We are New Englanders, after all. We’re the first to celebrate our hometown heroes when they succeed, and the first to call them out when they fail -- or we feel like they're failing us."
It's true. In the land of Harvard University, MIT, and [ENTER BELOVED BOSTON SPORTS FIGURE HERE], how can we expect anything less than perfect? (Despite whether it's led to some unfortunate stereotypes.)
Point blank: Bostonians have been pushing their chefs to create inventive, diverse, and above-average cuisine... and it looks like they're listening. This has led to better restaurants and an overall shift in the dining experience.
Now, the rest of the country is (finally) taking notice.