“A Day in the Life” is a series where we’ll profile a variety of residents to get an intimate glimpse into their day-to-day. These are your neighbors. Get to know them.
“I could use some proper BBQ that I don’t have to cook myself, some bluegrass, and a bar that allows me to enjoy a cigarette outside with my beer…” – Josh Lewin
Josh Lewin, the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro chef of nearly four years is pretty busy these first few weeks of spring. When he’s not preparing for his TEDx talk or planning a vacation to the South (can’t blame him), you can find Lewin experimenting with new recipes and dishes in the restaurant’s kitchen.
And you may have noticed, the executive chef likes to keep his guests happy. With unique and fun offerings like his “Foodie #TBT” dishes, Sunday fondue specials, and innovative meals, there’s more reason than ever to dine at this Beacon Hill bistro.
Here, Chef Josh Lewin gives us a glimpse (and a taste) of his day-to-day life. And trust us, it’s anything but boring.
How do you spend most mornings?
First, I brew strong coffee. If I’m feeling particularly youthful that day, maybe a few dozen push-ups while I wait for it… more often lately, I skip that part. Then it’s all work from there. I’ll respond to a few of the emails, catch up on some mainstream food writing outlets, then read some more specialized industry focused material.
What are the top priorities on your to-do list right now?
- There are a dozen restaurants I want to try and more opening up every month.
- There’s also a postcard sitting here that I’ve been meaning to send to my grandmother, maybe I’ll get that done today, as well as a few letters from chefs and friends in other cities that I should reply to soon.
- There are a couple of recipes that really need to be standardized for some new items on the menu.
- Gluten free bread. We’re working on a bake-to-order option that will allow us to serve gluten free diners real bread, right out of the oven, we’re close on that but not quite ready yet.
- I was invited to give a TEDx talk earlier this year, about staff development and creating real opportunities for growth in the restaurant industry, but I don’t have that ready yet. That’s a priority
…and that’s just half of the top of the list – it’s long!
What is the worst part and the best part about your typical day?
Well, if I’m lucky, most days it is hard to identify a “worst” part. This business can be a little unpredictable, there are a lot of moving parts, things come up and it isn’t always fun. There are the reminders that this is still a job at the end of the day, but most of the time it just feels like more of an adventure or a challenge.
If you could impart one piece of advice to our readers, what would it be?
Say hello! When you come out to the restaurant to try our new tasting menu, or celebrate a special occasion, or hell.. to kill a little time in the afternoon (we’re here nearly 24 hours a day!) don’t be afraid to connect. I’m here in the basement cooking and planning and brainstorming how to make this your favorite restaurant in Boston. I’d love to meet you and show you what we are working on.
What would you do if you were suddenly granted a day off from work tomorrow?
I’m feeling a bit of a Southern withdrawal. I could use some proper BBQ that I don’t have to cook myself, some bluegrass, and a bar that allows me to enjoy a cigarette outside with my beer, and where I won’t look stupid in a bow tie.
What do you love most about being Executive Chef at Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro?
I’m coming up on four years working here in Beacon Hill and aside from the specifics of my job, honestly it’s just a lot of fun to be doing business in this neighborhood. Walking through Beacon Hill growing up always felt fun, and very Boston. We get such an interesting mix of local regulars, folks from other neighborhoods, and tourists, that it really does feel like something new every day.
What’s one TV show you can’t live without right now?
There’s this horrible show, a remake of a BBC series about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who are roommates in Boston. It’s called “Being Human,” and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Yea, I’ll admit it. So what.
To be honest, I don’t watch that much TV. Honest, I swear … I don’t even have cable.
If you weren’t answering my questions, what would you be doing instead?
I’d be checking on that timer you can hear in the background and butchering this goat that our farmer is carrying in. It’s almost time for service so I need to check the reservations for friends, birthdays, anniversaries or any other clues on how to make someone’s day today.