After last week’s James Beard Awards announcement, the “best of” lists are still rolling in, pandemic and all.
On Tuesday, Food & Wine released its 32nd annual list of the Best New Chefs in America, a venerable roundup of 10 men and women who are setting the standard for innovation and excellence in today’s culinary landscape.
Douglass Williams, chef and owner at Italian restaurant MIDA, is one of those paving the way.
While acknowledging the unusual circumstances surrounding this year’s list, Khushbu Shah, restaurant editor for Food & Wine, wrote that despite the coronavirus pandemic, “This year’s class will shape the future. They are resilient and brilliant, thoughtful and caring. They are leading their teams through unprecedented circumstances, navigating choppy waters with sheer determination and optimism as their compass.”
Shah called Williams a “master of texture,” citing the chef’s crispy polenta and nearly 700 pounds of fresh pasta that’s made each week.
“I am just so incredibly grateful to Food & Wine,” Williams shared in a press release. “MIDA is my first restaurant. I used to bike past here and think what a beautiful place this could be for my restaurant someday — and now here I am with this fantastic team, in this city, and to be recognized by Food & Wine today‚ it is an extraordinary feeling.”
Since closing MIDA’s doors after the shutdown, Williams has helped to raise funds for his team through a pasta drive and pizza pop-up. He’s currently working with Off Their Plate, a Boston-based initiative that feeds frontline health care workers.
“This honor truly makes me pause,” Williams said. “The pandemic is hitting all of us in the gut — at home and in business — we are all trying to figure out how to survive and to succeed. I just want us all to take care of one another. …We will get through this together, and there will be beautiful pasta to share with friends.”
Williams opened MIDA on the edge of the South End and Roxbury in 2016. He plans to reopen the restaurant for takeout and delivery this week.
Discover the full list of Food & Wine’s 2020 Best New Chefs in America here.