Which Boston restaurant industry person, either a titan in the field or simply someone you saw as a mentor, impacted your career the most?
Marjorie Druker, chef/owner of The New England Soup Factory & Modern Rotisserie:
"Arthur Cores, the founder of Boston Chicken, had an important role in my life. He hired me at 17 for my first job working at a small take-out shop in Newton Centre named Nibbles. He was the manager. The year was 1980, and we catered tons of parties together for years. When he opened Boston Chicken in 1985 he hired me as his chef. I was 21, and he was hesitant about hiring me because we were too good of friends. I loved him so much. When my husband Paul and I were dating in our early 20s, I would bring Arthur with me on dates. Arthur passed away four years ago. I hope I see him one day again in Heaven. We had so much fun together."
Peter Davis, chef at Henrietta’s Table:
Paul Maslow, owner of Strip-T’s:
"Joe Dietrich. He was the head garde manger chef at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Boston. He told me every single day that I didn't have what it takes and that I should get out of the business. I learned to be thick-skinned working for him, a necessity in this business."
Steve DiFillippo, owner of Davio’s:
"Charlie Sarkis [former owner of Abe & Louie’s, Atlantic Fish Company, Papa Razzi, Joe'sAmerican Bar & Grill, and more] changed the landscape in Boston in how he took care of his guests and his employees. I learned a lot from him. He would give you advice and was very helpful. Roberta Dowling, cooking teacher at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Roger Berkowitz (Legal Sea Foods) was a big influence. Hard to say just one."
Jody Adams, chef/owner of Rialto and Trade:
"Gordon Hamersley." [Adams worked as a line cook at Seasons from 1984-1987, during which Hamersley was sous chef. When he opened Hamersley’s Bistro in 1987, Adams moved there to become sous chef and stayed until 1990, at which point she became executive chef at Michela’s.]
Matthew Gaudet, chef/owner of West Bridge:
"My business partner Alexis Gelburd-Kimler. Without her, West Bridge would not exist. Also, oddly enough, in the four months of pain and hell that was Mistral, I still hear Jamie Mammano's voice in the back of my head. But, in hindsight, he was right about a lot of things back then. In terms of pricing and caring for product, he hammers you, daily! But, he's been doing this now for how many years? With how many restaurants? The proof is in the pudding. That's how he runs a successful company."
Ana Sortun, chef/owner of Oleana, Sofra, and Sarma:
"No doubt, Sari Abuljubien from Casablanca taught me everything I know. He had faith, confidence and provided unconditional support and encouragement."
Kosta and Johnny Diamantopoulos, owners of All Star Sandwich Bar and All Star Pizza Bar:
Kosta: "I would have to say the generation of our dad; it wasn’t just one single person. My dad and his friends who really established what fast food is in Massachusetts. We are famous for pizza and roast beef and subs. If you go to New York or Connecticut, there are diners, and down South it’s barbecue and whatnot. We really looked up to that generation of people growing up."
Johnny: "Our parents came here from Greece as immigrants and worked extremely hard, so we grew up with a sense of hustle."
Kosta: "That whole generation of people. And it extended beyond Greeks — Italians, Polish, everyone. That immigrant generation, post-World War II, really set the footprint of what fast food in Massachusetts is."
Sean Newell, general manager of M.J. O’Connor’s:
"Neal Fisher at Marina Bay, now with United Liquors. Ultimate professional, hardworking, fair, great people person."
Richard Gordon, owner of South End Buttery:
"I have always loved to cook and known how to put together a great meal for friends, but I have learned the most about hospitality from Siobhan Carew, owner of Pomodoro. In the face of adversity, she has remained defiant and true to her philosophy of fine casual dining and good service. It’s rare to find someone as honest and good-hearted as Siobhan — and that’s why we love her."