Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Food Editor

The James Beard Award countdown has begun. Last month, the James Beard Foundation released the nominees for ‘the Oscars of the culinary world,’ and three of the five nominees for ‘Best Chef: Northeast’ reside and cook within the Boston area: Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa and Toro, Joanne Chang of Flour and Myers + Chang, and Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother.

The James Beard Awards recognize the leaders in the field of culinary artistry and appreciation: chefs, food journalists, television personalities, etc. The 2013 James Beard Awards will be held at Lincoln Center in New York on May 3 and 6. To celebrate their nominations and raise money for Future Chefs (a culinary career youth outreach program), Bissonnette, Chang and Maiden will also host a six-course dinner at Hungry Mother on April 15th.

MUSE spoke to the three nominees from Boston last week. Each week preceding the James Beard Awards, we will post three individual profiles of each of the chefs so you can choose your favorite. We will count the votes and post the results of BU’s Best Chef online on the day of the first ceremony, May 3.


Before we publish each of the longer profiles, here’s a quick rundown of each of the three:


Chef: Jamie Bissonnette

Restaurant(s): Coppa, Toro

Style of Cuisine: Italian, Spanish, Head-to-Tail

When you were college-aged, where did you think you’d be now: Jail

When you’re not cooking, you’re: listening to music (Danzig, Fitz and the Tantrums,

Oscar Peterson, Badbrains)

Mythical Creature you would cook if you could: Jackalope or Minotaur


Chef: Joanne Chang

Restaurant(s): Flour, Myers + Chang

Style of Cuisine: Chinese, Thai, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Pastry

Your favorite thing to cook: I still love cooking Chinese food, so stir-fry, fish, a lot of

tofu, a lot of vegetables.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Boston: Sam’s on the waterfront, Picco, Oishii

Any music in the kitchen? We don’t allow music in the kitchen, it’s too distracting, and

at home I kind of got used to cooking in silence – it allows you to focus and concentrate



Chef: Barry Maiden

Restaurant(s): Hungry Mother

Style of Cuisine: Southern, Appalachian, French influences, New England ingredients

Before you were cooking, you were: Lost, raising hell, getting in trouble.

When you’re not cooking, you’re: Outside

When you were college-aged, your favorite thing to eat was: Anything I could get my

hands on.