The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many of our favorite neighborhood haunts, date night spots and go-to watering holes to close because of government restrictions. As a result, owners face a bevy of tough decisions down the road: can they support out-of-work staff, is a take-out operation manageable or can they afford to reopen when life goes back to normal?
We at WBUR CitySpace have been moved by the outpouring of love and support for our hometown restaurants and bars. For our part, we’d like to highlight those who have joined us for Curated Cuisine, our monthly conversations with renowned local chefs where we dig into everything from their journeys into the world of culinary arts to the must-have food in their pantries.
Chang is the owner Flour, a local chain of bakery/cafés in Boston and Cambridge, and Myers+Chang, which she opened with her husband Christopher Myers, to bring the food that she grew up with along with the hospitality that Christopher was known for to Boston. She won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker in 2016.
Last April, Joanne treated us to her famous and absolutely decadent sticky buns. Check out her Curated Cuisine below.
You can support Joanne and her restaurant teams by shopping at the Flour Bakery online store where you can find all of her cookbooks, gift cards, packaged snacks, apparel and gifts. 100% of all proceeds will go to supporting their team while they’re temporarily closed.
Li is a food columnist for WBUR's The ARTery and co-owner and operator of Mei Mei, a restaurant and food truck catering business serving up creative Chinese-American cuisine made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. She is also co-author (with her siblings Andrew and Margaret) of the cookbook, "Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from our Chinese-American Kitchen.” You can purchase the cookbook from Harvard Bookstore, Porter Square Books or Brookline Booksmith.
In May, Irene showed the Curated Cuisine audience how to roll the perfect scallion pancake, a staple ingredient of many of the sandwiches Mei Mei has on their menu. Here's Irene and the Mei Mei team whipping up some of their signature dishes below.
Sortun is owner of the restaurant Oleana in Cambridge. She was named Best Chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2005 and went on to open Sofra Bakery and Café. She also co-owns Sarma in Somerville.
Sortun is known for bringing Middle Eastern flavors into the mainstream through her passion of Turkish cooking, spices and her husband’s (Chris Kurth of Siena Farms) fresh, organic vegetables.
Last September, Sortun showed us how to make muhammara, a red pepper and walnut puree, and beet tzatziki, which guests sampled after the event with crackers from Sofra. Check out her Curated Cuisine video below.
You can purchase Sortun’s cookbooks, "Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean" and "Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery" (with Maura Kilpatrick), from Harvard Bookstore, Porter Square Books or Brookline Booksmith.
Faison is chef and owner of Fenway area restuarants Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Fool's Errand and Orfano. In 2006, early into her career, Faison was cast on the very first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and placed as runner-up. Among her many accomplishments, Forbes named the biscuits at Sweet Cheeks “the best biscuits in the world.”
Last October, Faison showed us how to make a raw squash salad from her new Orfano menu. Check out her Curated Cuisine video below.
Last but not least, we have to give a shout out to our Curated Cuisine host, Sheryl Julian. Julian is an award-winning writer, editor and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of “The Way We Cook” and editor of “The New Boston Globe Cookbook.” Here she is making sugar cookies, showing us all how to have some fun in the kitchen while we’re stuck at home.
More resources to support other Greater Boston restaurants and small businesses:
SupportYourSpot, a directory of small Boston businesses that offer online gift cards
Eater Boston's directory of ongoing fundraisers and ways to support and their list of online merch stores.