Chef-entrepreneurs open eatery on Roxbury/South End border

Published in the Bay State Banner, December 21, 2016

Photo by Jose Luis Martinez

For Douglass Williams, Italian cuisine is the most relatable food in the world. Perhaps it’s the comforting flavors of olive oil and Parmesan, or the versatility of pasta, but Williams believes it can bring people together.

MIDA, which is Italian for “he gives me,” is a new restaurant venture by Williams and Brian Lesser. The restaurant is located at 782 Tremont Street in the South End, on the edge of Roxbury — a distinction of neighborhoods that was not lost on anyone, Williams said. Despite economic and racial divisions, “What can bring two sides together?” he asked. “I thought about what I like to do the most, what I like to serve the best, what I like to teach people the most, and I said, ‘Pasta.’”

Williams’ theory about Italian food being widely loved is an educated one, drawing on 13 years of chef experience, including five whirlwind years traveling the world. Originally from Atlantic City, his culinary roots are in Boston where he first worked at Radius and then at Coppa, where he “just fell in love” with the process of making pasta, he said.

He left Coppa to go to Thailand. “I wanted to learn more about other cuisines and see how that relates,” he said. He taught Thai locals how to make pasta, and learned how to make rice-based noodles. Then came a stint in New York City, where he worked at Paul Liebrandt’s Corton. Liebrandt, in 2000, was the youngest chef ever to earn a three-star review from The New York Times, at age 25.


Williams then spent some time in Paris, further refining his skills. “What I learned the most was that everybody there owned restaurants at 26 or 28 years old. And I said, ‘What am I doing here?’” He returned to Boston with one goal in mind.

Opening MIDA with Lesser was something he could not have done by himself, said Williams.

“Having a good partner really, really helps. And getting people to be honest with you, hiring the right people from the start,” he said. “You need to let people help you.”

Williams reached out to the Boston-based Restaurant Investment Group, a collective of restaurant and financial consultants spearheaded by real estate lawyer Dan Dain that provides access to capital and financial expertise to young chefs.

“We had conversations, tastings, and lessons on what needed to be done, as far as financial commitment, contracts, personal commitments, everything,” said Williams. MIDA is RIG’s first investment so far, with other restaurant openings in the works.

Read the rest here.

2016 – 6 Pies You Should Try on National Pi Day (March 14)

Published on, March 14, 2016

National Pie Day (today, March 14) is the perfect excuse to indulge in some takes on the sweet treats around Boston.

Banana Cream Pie at Post 390

This gooey, fluffy treat is pastry chef Molly Hanson’s signature dish. It’s made with brulee bananas, foster sauce, and house-made banana liqueur. 406 Stuart St., 617-399-0015


2016 – 6 Smoothies with Unique but Good-For-You Ingredients

Published on, April 21, 2016

These smoothies can be the extra boost you need after a workout or as a healthy snack between meals with unique add-ins like bee pollen, Tiger Nuts, and maca.

Revolution Juice

The Boom smoothie is a popular choice at this health-conscious food spot. It comprises banana, mango, date, pineapple juice, spinach, kale, and mint. Add maca for an added nutritional boost. 150 Huntington Ave., 857-233-4313


This Latin-influenced juice and smoothie bar doesn’t relinquish taste for healthiness. The Aston batido is made with energy-boosting kale and avocado, hydrating coconut water, and sweet pineapple, date, and banana. Opt for add-ins like bee pollen and hemp protein. 145 Dartmouth St., 617-418-9879

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2016 – 9 Maple-Infused Menu Items to Enjoy Before Syrup Season is Over

Published on, March 18, 2016

As winter ends and spring begins (or so we hope), New England’s short but sweet season for maple syrup takes place though early April. Here’s how to enjoy the sugary sap in dishes throughout the city.

Berkshire Pork Loin at Grafton Street

Chef Christopher Bauers’s maple-cured Berkshire pork loin is a favorite among patrons at this Harvard Square pub and grill. And it’s no wonder when it comes with a gorgonzola corn cake, ginger-carrot puree, and apple cider reduction. 1230 Mass Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-0400

Fried Brussels Sprouts at Eastern Standard

Perhaps Eastern Standard can ease your childhood hatred of Brussels sprouts with its pickled apple and maple-dijon aioli take on the vegetable. 528 Commonwealth Ave., 617-532-9100

Read the rest here.