Chef Boston is Bridgewater’s best-kept secret
Story and photos by D. Anthony Botkin
Powell’s Bridgewater Banquet and Conference Center’s elegant decor of imported granite and marble, fine oriental rugs and custom-designed chandeliers makes it popular for wedding receptions and parties.
But possibly the best-kept secret of the Bridgewater is its chef, Dave Boston.
He’s been Bridgewater’s chef for a little over 10 years.
“It’s what I do. It’s my passion,” he said. “You’ve got to be willing to work hard, put in the hours, and be willing to learn.”
Boston said being the chef of a banquet center isn’t anything like the being a chef on television. He said it takes passion, heart, knowledge to stay ahead of the game, and the will to work 12- to 14-hour days.
The banquet center is busy year-round with weddings, graduations, proms and other events, Boston said.
“It keeps us hopping every weekend, sometimes starting Friday night all the way through Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I only have one other person who is part-time that works for me.”
Boston said for the big parties — as large as 700 people — he does have people he can call if needed.
Boston said he usually starts preparing four or five days in advance of an event by placing the food order. Once it arrives there is the prep work, the cooking, and then the serving. However, he said it doesn’t stop there; he still has the cleanup and the paperwork to finish.
“Most chefs know that you have to go, go, go, because it’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “Either you like it or you love it.”
Boston seems to love it.
Boston said in the 10 years he’s been the chef at Bridgewater, the biggest changes have been to the menus because of food allergies.
“If they let us know ahead of time, we’ll plate up the order and take in,” he said. “We try to accommodate everyone.”
Boston said the hot item right now on the menu is beef tenderloin.
“Everybody is wanting beef, which is odd, but it’s the holidays and that’s when it’s the biggest,” he said. “Over the last week or two, I bet seven out of ten events has wanted beef.”
Boston said he doesn’t mind everyone wanting beef because it’s the simplest item to prepare. He said the trick is to make sure not to overcook.
“During the other times of the year, people order chicken and salmon,” he said.
Boston said for dessert he likes to make homemade mousses, cheesecakes, chocolate cakes or cookies.
“It depends on what the client is looking for,” he said.
Boston said when he was younger, he would watch his grandparents cook.
“I use to watch my grandparents who came over on the boat from Italy,” he said. “Everyone would work together to make lots of food for big family get-togethers during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was just fascinated by it all. It just got me going on cooking.”
With a background deeply rooted in old world cooking, one would think Boston’s specialty would be pasta. Not so.
“The thing I like to make the most is homemade soups,” he said. “You’d be surprised, but they go over well and it’s one of the things I do the best.”
Boston said there aren’t too many chefs that like to make soups, but he does get a lot of calls for them for luncheons.
“I like to make a nice broccoli and cheese or white bean chicken chili,” he said. “They like to call me the Soup Nazi here.”