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Lucky Cambridge Scoops Up a Great Pastry Chef

Plus, there’s a giant pancake-flipping robot in town, and more news

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Several scoops of bright pink raspberry sorbet are served in a wooden bowl and garnished with seeded crackers and edible flowers.
Brian Mercury’s raspberry sorbet at Puritan & Co.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.

Chef Shuffles

An award-winning pastry chef has joined the team at Puritan & Co. in Cambridge. Brian Mercury departed Oak & Rowan last month after three years as its pastry chef, and his intricate desserts are already on the menu at the Inman Square restaurant, complementing chef/owner Will Gilson’s ample use of seasonal ingredients. Mercury’s current desserts include a raspberry sorbet with basil, queen anne’s lace jelly, and seeded crackers, as well as a taza chocolate crémeux. His pastry impact will also reach to Puritan & Co.’s pop-up sibling Café Beatrice in Allston, and eventually to Gilson’s forthcoming East Cambridge restaurant.

Across the river in Boston, Alcove (50 Lovejoy Wharf) has promoted executive sous chef and Massachusetts native Brian Paszko to the role of chef de cuisine. Paszko previously worked at several fine dining establishments in California before returning to Boston, where he served as sous chef at both Mida and Cultivar. Paszko joined the opening team at Alcove, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli’s first restaurant as owner after years in New England hospitality.

Food Robots

Robots are not entirely new to the Boston restaurant world — they even cook the food at Spyce in Downtown Boston. But one new robot has come to town, created with the sole purpose of flipping pancakes. Fans of John Hughes’ 1989 film Uncle Buck will likely remember the unreal stack of pancakes the title character cooks for a birthday party, and America’s Test Kitchen and Boston’s Autodesk Technology Center took on a challenge to recreate such pancakes, using a robot instead of an eccentric uncle to do the flipping. The pancake robot stands eight feet tall and has some serious nuance to its programming, and ultimately delivers the perfect giant stack.

Meanwhile, College of the Holy Cross has partnered with food robotics company Chowbotics to bring a robot called Sally to campus. Sally can prepare custom meals from 22 ingredients, dispensing salads, grain bowls, and breakfast bowls. Foods are added daily and stored separately to diminish risk of foodborne illnesses.

In Other News...

  • After three years of legal turmoil, America’s Test Kitchen and its founder Christopher Kimball have settled a lawsuit over Kimball’s departure and subsequent formation of his own food media company, Milk Street. In the settlement, Kimball will sell his shares back to ATK for an undisclosed amount, allowing the companies to “co-exist in the marketplace.”
  • The bluefin tuna fishery industry of the Cape and islands is no longer the robust enterprise it was in the 1980s. With more competition, cheap commercial licenses, and tight federal regulations and quotas influencing the trade, local fisheries and businesses are seeing drastic changes, according to the Vineyard Gazette’s report on the decline.
  • A company that facilitates delivery of catering services to local businesses will debut in Boston with some celebrity backing. Usher and Jay-Z are among the investors in Hungry Marketplace Inc., which uses a digital platform to connect chefs with businesses looking for catering services, with a goal of saving on costs for each party.

Got a news tip for the Eater Boston team? Email boston@eater.com.

Alcove

50 Lovejoy Wharf, , MA 02114 (617) 248-0050 Visit Website

Puritan & Co.

1166 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617 615 6195 Visit Website

Spyce

241 Washington Street, , MA 02201 Visit Website

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