The contestant lineup for the latest season of Top Chef is here, and there’s a familiar face among the crowd: Valentine Howell Jr., the former executive chef at Greek hot spot Krasi, the owner of taco pop-up Black Cat, and a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast in 2023, will be competing on Top Chef: Wisconsin. He joins a pool of 14 other candidates vying for a $250,000 grand prize this year. There’s another Boston name on the other side of the judges’ table, too. Kristen Kish, who formerly worked within Barbara Lynch’s restaurant empire and competed and won Top Chef in 2012, joined the cast after longtime host Padma Lakshmi left the show last year. The newest season premieres on Wednesday, March 20 at 9 p.m. on Bravo, with next-day streaming on Peacock.
The North End’s first Black female bartender reflects on her career
Marsha Lindsey, a hospitality veteran who is currently the principal bartender at Italian restaurant SRV in the South End, reflected in an interview with the Boston Globe about her years spent building her bartending career in Boston — including being the first Black woman to bartend in the North End — and what Boston’s restaurant industry could do better. “I think Boston’s really good at opening up spaces for people to eat, to come to convene, to enjoy each other, to catch a vibe. I think that Boston’s not so good at inclusivity,” Lindsey tells the Globe. “I think that there’s way more room to grow when it comes to having people of color in the front of the house.”
Seafood mainstay Saltie Girl reopens with a new look
After a month-long partial closure, chic seafood restaurant Saltie Girl in Back Bay has reopened with some dining room updates — and new menu items — to show off. The restaurant, which is housed in a townhouse at the corner of Newbury Street and Dartmouth Street, now boasts a swanky, yacht-themed captain’s room to dine in, among other interior upgrades. The menu, helmed by chef Kyle McClelland, now includes new dishes like a yellowtail crudo with citrus fruits, pickled ramps, and trout roe, a tuna carpaccio with pistachios and fried capers, and a dover sole, plus one old favorite from the vault: torched salmon belly with a miso glaze served over rice.
...and over in the Seaport, Committee debuts some changes, too
Greek bar and restaurant Committee has welcomed back Luis Figueroa, a chef on the restaurant’s opening team back in 2015, as the spot’s new executive chef. Figueroa has already been at work revamping the menu, which now includes new dinner plates like lamb frites and shrimp saganaki, with shrimp bathed in tomato sauce, garlic, lemon, and feta, as well as a weekday lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with build-your-own salads on the menu.