Northshore Magazine

Northshore November 2019

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

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97 Rachel Miller Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn As a kid, Rachel Miller loved witches. In fact, part of what drew her to move to New England from her native Virginia was the area's mystique, which shows up in movies like Practical Magic, featuring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as a pair of sibling witches. "I knew I wanted to go to New England," says Miller, chef/owner of Nightshade Noodle Bar. "And I loved to cast spells and mix things together to make other things." When she got a little older and started getting interested in food, she found a connection between the two. "I realized that if I mixed lemon and olive oil, I got a vinaigrette," she says with a smile. These days, Miller's potions have gotten a lot more sophisticated. Think smoky tamarind seafood soup packed with local shellfish, or unctuous bone marrow fried rice—both of which will be on the menu at her new restaurant in downtown Lynn. Lynn is a natural fit for the chef, from the access to employees to the community itself. "Being here is just a nicer life," Miller says. "The downtown neighborhood feels like a small town. I see the same people every day. Everyone's supporting everyone. Everyone's excited about everyone else's projects and their lives and their kids and their work. And it just feels good." Miller says it's exciting to have a home after two years of cooking in other people's kitchens. As North Shore foodies know, this alum of top Boston spots like Clio and Bondir has been roaming the area with her Nightshade ive years ago, it's unlikely you could have found four women leading kitchens north of Boston. Shocking, right? But actually, our area is ahead of the curve when it comes to female chefs—maybe because we had Julia Child. Those who saw her on TV saw a regular person who was willing to laugh at herself and make mistakes while executing complex dishes, breaking down barriers for anyone who wanted to cook. For those who were lucky enough to count Julia as a mentor, her approachable fame opened doors. But it isn't just Julia. With Lydia Shire, Jody Adams, and Barbara Lynch, to name just a few, our area is fortunate to have a legacy of strong female role models in restaurant kitchens. "They're definitely the godmothers," says Rachel Miller, whose hotly anticipated Vietnamese restaurant Nightshade Noodle Bar opened in Lynn last month. "I can't really think of any cooks that I know [in] my generation and a little bit older who haven't come out of one of those kitchens, or worked for someone that worked for them," she says. "They developed a brand that is respected enough that you carry it around with you. That's inspiring to young women." These days, women are heading up kitchens all over the North Shore, crafting innovative cuisine and capturing the public's attention. And every one of them can haul the heaviest pan you toss at them—don't let anyone suggest otherwise. Kate Holowchik of Ledger Clairemarie Bergstrom of Ledger PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF LEDGER RESTAURANT AND BAR

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