Northshore Magazine

Northshore November 2019

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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99 aside from getting to play with food all day. "I love finding a staff member who wants to learn everything," she says. "If I wasn't a chef, or cop or probation officer, I think I would have been a teacher. Because I love when someone wants to learn more. I love it." Suzi Maitland The Paddle Inn, Newburyport In college, Suzi Maitland's keg parties were likely legendary—not for the drinking, but for the food. Instead of the usual pizza delivery, her fellow students were treated to big batches of homemade pasta. "I loved the cooking part," recalls Maitland, chef/owner at Paddle Inn. "And I loved bringing people together and taking care of them." So after finishing a double major in art and history, she moved from Florida up to Cambridge to attend culinary school. Her first jobs included stints at Finale and Todd English's Olives in Boston, but then she started working for Beau and Trina Strum at Trina's Starlite Lounge in Somerville— and found a home. Her brand of upscale Southern-inflected comfort food was just what Massachusetts was craving. "I was just going to flip burgers with them while I figured out what big-name chef I wanted to go work for next," Maitland recalls. "It just worked out that I was able to cook food that I knew and loved with amazing people, and grow with them." The partners expanded beyond Trina's with Parlor Sports, Paddle Inn, and a second Trina's location in Amesbury that they recently sold. Maitland loves the creativity that Paddle Inn—which draws from coastal locations around the world for a menu that changes seasonally—enables in the kitchen. "Chefs get bored just like everyone else," she says. "That's one way we get to shake things up." She will admit that regulars sometimes complain when beloved dishes disappear. "We always talk about doing a menu for a season where it's just the favorites," she says with a laugh. "You wanted it; here it is. Let's do it!" Meanwhile, she keeps drawing inspiration from the area. "I just love the North Shore," she says. "Up here you can hit a farm stand on your way to work." cakes at TCBY, more than her studies. "My family freaked out," Normant recalls, describing their reaction when she dropped out to attend culinary school. But they're not freaking out anymore—her success shows she clearly made the right decision. Normant moved up through the ranks in the kitchen at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem before getting hired as executive chef at Sea Level Salem. "I'm the first female chef George [Carey, owner of Sea Level and Finz] ever hired," Normant says. Now Normant oversees a staff of 30 as executive chef at Sea Level Newburyport. And while she spent a lot of time in the hostile environment that is "Hell's Kitchen," that is not at all how she runs things. "We're so busy in the summers that you have to be calm, cool, collected, but at the same time, I have to delegate and lead," Normant explains, adding that that really is her favorite part of her job— Suzi Maitland of the Paddle Inn

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