The Boston-based chef gathered inspiration from a diverse background, an unexpected illness, and his mom
Last fall, my sister and I sat on the patio at MIDA, Douglass Williams’ Italian restaurant in Boston, blocks away from Frederick Douglass Square Historic District. Though it was typical frigid New England weather, when the server delivered our dishes — piping hot arancini, perfectly crisped polenta, and a sinfully rich carbonara — we forgot our aversion to the chill.
Douglass Williams, a multiracial chef of Syrian, Lebanese, and Black heritage, displays cultural curiosity and ingenuity in the kitchen; he’s also one of Boston’s only Black fine-dining chef-owners. This past year, especially difficult for anyone in the restaurant industry, Williams was named aFood & Wine’s Best New Chef and a James Beard “Best Chef: Northeast” semifinalist: two of many accolades that follow years of exploration and personal discovery.
We produce reported pieces, profiles, interviews, and rants about what’s broken in the food world (there’s a lot) and how to change things for the better. People sometimes tell me to just keep politics out of it. Respectfully: No. Food is political. We can’t and won’t ignore that.