The Skinny Beet: In The Kitchen With Josh Lewin, Beacon Hill Bistro

Chef Josh Lewin
I promise I won't get in the habit of cutting and pasting content from my business site, The Skinny Beet, but some stories are just too good not to share. Burger Boy and I have started a new little project and we've got an exciting line up of local, and very talented chefs, scheduled to meet us over the next couple of months. Our first meet-up was this week and I wanted to share with you..

"Sandra Jean" Scallops, Kaniwa, Mangalica Lardo, Orchard Morels, Bergamot
Mise en place for the scallops
The reason why we started this project in the first place was to discuss the whole concept of cooking styles and what it means to have one, where it originates and develops and, if applicable, discuss the concept and story behind a signature dish. This is going to be an ongoing project of ours that started this week, when we met Josh Lewin, Executive Chef of Beacon Hill Bistro, located right on Charles Street. We started chatting at a tucked away table over coffee and then he led us into their tiny kitchen and we got to work.

Time to sear!

No matter how many small kitchens I’ve been in, I still get amazed every time when I see the beautiful work that comes out of such small spaces. Josh excitedly showed us around, pointing out beautiful sunny-hued Bergamot oranges, which he proudly told us are some of the last of the domestically grown crop for the season. It was easy to see how passionate he is about his craft and he takes his passion for local ingredients one step further by being intricately involved in the foraging of the ingredients that he uses. Almost surgeon-like, he neatly set out a small steel plate of fresh ingredients before us and then explained the origins of each ingredient. Then, he turned to the small burners and fired them up, searing scallops, sautéing morels and cooking the Kaniwa (a smaller, more delicate cousin of Quinoa) through.

Evergreen Cured Salmon, Spiced Yogurt
Wild Watercress Soup, Black Pepper, Miners Lettuce, Verjus
When we discussed the concept of cooking styles, he took a couple of minutes to really take in the question and before he could answer, we got distracted by plating. “Look at the way the lardo just melts over the scallops, we chose the lardo because it’s a fat that leaves behind virtually no flavor” he explained. We watched as he perked up the earthy colors of the dish – the sandy colored morels, golden tinged scallops and deep rust Kaniwa – with beautiful vibrant Orchard petals and candied Bergamot oranges. He then sent us to the dining room to enjoy a sampling of what’s popular at the restaurant now. 

"Cures and Pickles"
On crisp white plates the food was presented. Artfully arranged with vibrant colors and bold flavors, we started with a plate of Evergreen cured salmon, light and delicately flavored, it was a great starter. After the plates were cleared, a chilled Wild Watercress Soup was then placed before us, velvety on the tongue and fresh with bright, peppery watercress it was a refreshing treat. Next to arrive, a plate of house cured meats and pickled leeks and sea beans arrived adorned with a baby radish. 

Matzo Brei, Farm Fresh Eggs, Charred Ramps, Steelhead Roe
To our own personal delight, a plate of Matzo Brei, a classic Passover dish consisting of eggs and Matzo, were dressed up with delicate earthy ramps and little marbles of Steelhead Roe that popped with each bite. Lastly, the dish that we had made in the kitchen arrived and was presented with the addition of a line of pink salt. The plump scallops were brightened up with the candied orange and floral notes rounded out the dish, courtesy of the Orchids. The morels reinforced earthiness while the Kaniwa gracefully danced around on my tongue, providing quite a unique experience.

At the end of the meal, Josh pulled up a chair and confessed that he had been really thinking about our question on cooking style and he felt that he had his answer. “I cook with not only what’s in season, but I take that a step further and look at what’s in season today. I like the food to reflect what’s going on each day, what’s in season; not just in New England but right here, in Boston. I like to forage as much as I can and even the weather plays into what’s going on my menu, which should be a true reflection of the day.” If that's not enough to inspire you I don't know what is. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Chef Lewin and can't wait to come back and visit again soon.

For more information on our project and to stay up to date with it, please follow The Skinny Beet at @TheSkinnyBeet or like us on Facebook - thanks for your ongoing support!


Zach Alexander said...

The watercress soup reminds me I want to try some kind of smooth greens soup recipe.

Are those tulip petals? I just learned those were edible this week.

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

The flowers used in the post were actually Orchid petals - good luck with your own green soup recipe! Perfect Spring weather for it!

The Hungry Crafter said...

Two things: 1. I must go to Beacon Hill Bistro. 2. That soup photo is one of the most gorgeous food pics I've seen. I'm going to use this as inspiration for a home decorating color palette. And I think I must try that soup. See point 1.

Josh Lewin said...

Katie, thanks for sharing your great pictures and the story. It was a lot of fun. For your readers interested in the soup... I'll be making it for how to heroes next week, so check their website soon. Or just visit the restaurant and say hello :)

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Hi Josh, thanks again so much, it was so great to finally meet you in person and thanks for showing us around Beacon Hill Bistro! We had a lot of fun cooking with you and we'll definitely be back soon!


The presentation of this food is absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing your day with Josh! I look forward to the next chef in the series.

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