Rising Star Chef Amanda Lydon - Biography

November 2011

Growing up in Massachusetts, Amanda Lydon spent every summer with her family on Nantucket. The summer after her freshman year at Harvard, where she studied English and American literature, she wandered into one of her favorite restaurants on the island, Straight Wharf Restaurant, and took a job there as a daytime prep cook. Back at Harvard, Lydon worked part-time in the kitchen of Upstairs at the Pudding, like so many of Harvard’s English majors. The work was far from intellectual, but she found it more challenging than anything else she’d ever done before.

After graduating from college, Lydon earned a scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and received a crash course in classic French cuisine and technique. Returning to Boston, she took a kitchen position at Chez Henri, where she not only had an opportunity to work under Chef Paul O’Connell, but she also met fellow cook and soul mate Gabriel Frasca. Together Lydon and Frasca took off for Europe. Their first stop was Provence and an apprenticeship at the Michelin two-star L’abbaye de Saint Croix. Next was an awe-inspiring stage with Spanish phenom Martin Berasetegui in San Sebastien, an experience that has continued to inspire her for many years.

Returning to Boston, Lydon completed stints in the kitchens of some of the hottest spots in town, including Truc, Radius, and Upstairs on the Square, where she was co-Executive Chef with Susan Regis. She then took the helm of Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain. At Ten Tables, whose name aptly describes its size and intimacy, Lydon collaborated with an equally compact staff to offer original French/American cuisine based on local, organic ingredients. The vibe was warm and inviting, as if you’ve walked into a fabulous dinner party at home with family and close friends.

Lydon's career has come full circle. For her next culinary adventure she teamed up with Gabriel Frasca again, winning the 2006 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Awards alongside him, and working as co-Executive Chefs at Straight Wharf Restaurant. Together they've brought their world-class experience to a seasonal New England menu to create a culinary destination out of this summertime favorite.