Lydia Shire. (Image Credit: Scampo)

Lydia Shire. (Image Credit: Scampo)

Lydia Shire
215 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 536-2100

Lydia Shire is a Brookline native. Her earliest culinary memory was peeling garlic with her father as he cut out recipes from The New York Times. In 1971, Shire attended London’s Cordon Bleu Cooking School. Throughout the mid-to-late 70s, Shire made her mark in Boston’s most respected restaurants: Harvest, Café Plaza at The Copley Plaza Hotel and Parker’s at the Parker House Hotel. In 1982, she opened Seasons at the Bostonian Hotel.

The James Beard Foundation awarded Shire the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage” award in 1984. In 1986, Shire became the first female Executive Chef in the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Company to open a luxury property in Beverly Hills. In 1989, she returned to Boston and launched BIBA (“Back in Boston Again”). In 1992, the James Beard Foundation honored Shire as “America’s Best Chef – Northeast” while Food & Wine reported that Shire was “One of America’s Top Ten Chefs.”

In 2008, Shire launched her sixth culinary destination, Scampo, in Boston’s Liberty Hotel, which was recognized that year by Esquire magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants” in America. During the summer of 2010, Shire opened the internationally eclectic Towne Stove and Spirits in Boston’s Back Bay Neighborhood, which was also recognized by Esquire magazine as “Best New Restaurant” in 2011.

White Pumpkin Soup

Half roasted large orange pumpkin with a beautiful long curled stem, hollowed out and containing a steaming hot soup with Fino Sherry, brown butter, crushed hazelnuts and toasted sage leaves.

“Traditionally, most pumpkin soups are of the orange type like sugar pumpkins; however, I thought it would be so nice to half-roast a beautiful large orange pumpkin with a nice long stem (half-roast so that it retains some rigidity), and scoop out most of it so that it is a warm vessel for a ‘white pumpkin soup’ made with the white variety of pumpkins. Add a little Fino Sherry, then the wonderful aroma of crushed hazelnuts toasting in brown butter, and lastly, the crisp crunch of the butter toasted sage leaves. I would then serve it with an Amontillado (medium) Sherry in a sherry glass.”

Petit Pumpkin Meringue Tarts

In a lemon & poppy seed flaky butter pastry.

“Who does not like meringue? I would blind bake a lovely flaky butter pastry dough with grated lemon and Dutch poppy seeds in smallish tart tins and fill them with a warm, sugary and buttery pumpkin puree — I would use Lyle’s Golden Syrup and a scraped vanilla pod — and make my Italian meringue with vanilla and almond extracts. I fill the tart shells just before dessert, pipe beautiful flourishes of my meringue onto the pumpkin, then place in a 400-degree oven to brown the meringue. Heaven on earth!”

Kelly’s Katch Caviar (from Tennessee)

On a warm pumpkin & corn blini with horseradish crème fraîche

“I am in love with this (new to me): Kelly’s Katch Caviar, a Paddlefish roe from Tennessee. You might think you were eating Iranian Osetra Caviar from Caspian Sea — which we used to though now, sadly, it is disappearing. At Scampo, we have Kelly’s Katch on the menu with a corn blini; simply a pancake with raw corn for the true crunch and freshness! This fall, I will add some pumpkin to the mix. Delicious!”

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Pumpkin & Pear Mostarda Agnolotti

Parmesan & pumpkin seed brittle

“The classic fall dish of pumpkin agnolotti (I remember so well Todd English’s from Olives!) can be livened up by using a pear mostarda from Italy, sweet and slightly spicy…a great addition to the naturally sweet pumpkin puree. Then I make a pumpkin seed brittle, or “Yellow Man” as it is called in Australia. Baking soda is added in the end to foam the candy before you pour it on a cool slab of marble. This is crushed and sprinkled on the hot agnolotti with a sprinkling of a naturally salty Parmigiano Reggiano. it’s a wonderful combination.”

Turkey & Pumpkin Hash

“I crave sausage stuffing in the fall, nothing makes me happier! I make extra at Thanksgiving. Dice roast turkey thighs and a little breast, leftover sausage stuffing, sweet roasted pumpkin, onion and inner celery leaves (which I love) and brown in plenty of butter in a large skillet with some chopped curly parsley (more sweet and fragrant than flat leaf). Soft poach your eggs and serve with a lemony hollandaise, and now you’re talking. It’s the best post-Thanksgiving brunch of all!”

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Boston-based writer Effie Orfanides keeps up with all of the latest happenings in her city. She loves eating at Boston’s hotspots, having drinks at the trendiest bars, and enjoying all that Boston has to offer. Her work can be found at