During the Monday 10/20 BCAE Celebrity Chef class with Matthew Foley of The Merchant, it quickly became apparent that this born-and-raised Bostonian has a lot of love for his city…right down to his fashion choices (namely, his Bully Boy Distillers cap).
During the three-hour class, the shoutouts to local specialty shops, restaurants, farms, and more did not stop. Students left the class with not only full bellies and new cooking knowledge, but also plenty of recommendations from a guy who surely can be trusted to know the best places around Boston to get a great meal – or its ingredients.
Chef Foley loves to use locally grown produce in dishes at The Merchant. He works with some farms directly, such as Allandale Farm in Brookline (he's even done farm to table dinners there). But when he can find time, he enjoys perusing some of his favorite farmers markets:
–Copley Square: Tuesdays and Fridays, 11AM-6PM from 5/13/14 through 11/25/14
–Somerville/Union Square: Saturdays, 9AM-1PM from 5/17/14 through 11/22/14
–East Boston/Central Square: Thursday, 3PM-6:30PM from 7/10/14 through 10/23/14
For cooking spices, Chef Foley recommends Christina's Spice & Specialty Foods in Cambridge's Inman Square. They can even sell small portions, for the cook who's riding solo and makes smaller meals.
One nice thing about Boston's restaurant community is the support its chefs have for each other. Of course Chef talked about The Merchant during this class, but he also was sure to ask students what other restaurants they like to visit. He nodded along with some answers, and asked questions about others (if he hadn't been).
Fun fact: Chef Matthew Foley is not only an experienced chef but also a level two sommelier! His favorite wine of the evening was one of our new releases – Lot 80 Red Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, CA. Not surprisingly, he chose the wines on The Merchant's wine list (and they even offer wines on tap). His favored wine shop is Cambridge's Central Bottle…unfortunately our wine is not carried there, but maybe someday!
We are sure that's just the tip of the iceberg containing Foley's knowledge of all things local in the Boston area. We hope to learn more from him soon – in the setting of his restaurant! We owe him a visit!