Thursday, October 8, 2009

Culinary Creativity: Chef Rebecca Newell-Part 1

(Check out my Introduction to the Culinary Creativity series.)

Chef Rebecca Newell is the Executive Chef of The Beehive, a hot restaurant in Boston's South End. Raised in Glen Falls, New York, Newell spent much of her youth traveling with her family to Old Quebec City, Paris, Italy, Holland and other places. She eventually attended the New England Culinary Institute and then moved to Naples, Florida where she worked at Bistro 821 and Quail Creek Country Club.

Later, Newell moved to New England, working at restaurants including Coriander Bistro, Union Bar & Grille and Aquitaine Bis. In October 2007, Newell accepted the position as Executive Chef at The Beehive. I am a big fan of The Beehive, especially their weekend brunch. I find the dishes to be very creative, and often as well, excellent comfort food. Plus, it is a very happening place at night, with lots of special events, including live music, art, burlesque and more.

Now, onto the Interview--

How Important is Culinary Creativity to you? Why is it important?
It is important to be creative in the culinary arts but only to a point. Some dishes have been tested by time and there is no need to change or 'upgrade' them. For instance, veal oscar or chicken parmesan, lamb shanks or a perfect burger on a summer day, sometimes you just want a sense of comfort, a familiarity. But that's not to say a chef should not explore a certain spin to put on traditional dishes. I say that but also with the understanding that the dish needs to work, taste well, eat well. It's important to explore your creativity in the kitchen, but no one likes calamari with fluffanutter buerre blanc.

What are your most significant inspirations for your culinary creativity? What make those matters so inspiring?
My inspirations for cooking are from reading, love it! Always falling asleep with a cookbook on my lap or some small New York City restaurant webpage open, seeing what other chefs are doing with seasonal ingredients, getting inspired. I also have traveled Europe extensively. I loved eating farm fresh foods, meat and bread in various markets and restaurants. I can remember eating a perfect piece of crusty bread in Tuscany with my mom, with shiny golden olive oil and sea salt and it was perfect. Or eating veal sweetbread in New York, soft and rich. I think growing up, my mom was such an amazing cook, with her sisters and her best friend, I learned how to eat crawfish, pickle/canning, baking, appetizers, roasts, cheese and drinking lots and lots of wine along the way!

Where do you get your ideas for new recipes/dishes?
I love going to different restaurants, trying things. The other day, I was walking through Brookline when my boyfriend and I just moved to and I stumbled upon this Russian Market. So of course, I bought an amazing beet salad, stuffed cabbages, fresh rye bread, checking out the baskets of different Russian women and buying what they were buying.. they know, you know? I always go back to the comfort foods of my youth, which my boss at Beehive encourages and the public responds to. I've done fine dining and I like the relaxed and wholesome nature of the cuisine of Beehive, I think I am inspired by everyday cuisine, by food people can relate to.

Part 2 of this Interview will be posted tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Newell is an arrogant cocky b---. Her behavior and comments on the show portray who she really is - a self-aborbed b----who got lucky. She can't cook outside of her comfort zone. Chicken fried steak, really??