Meet Lydia Shire, one of Boston’s top chefs

She has been cooking up culinary success for decades. But for Lydia Shire, the owner of Scampo restaurant, becoming one of the top chefs in Boston and the nation was the result of years of really hard work and years of breaking down barriers so other women could follow in her footsteps. She dished out plenty of unbelievable stories of her amazing career with a side of humility. Shire’s resume reads like a script right out of Hollywood. She went to high school with Donna Summer at the Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester and was the first female head chef at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. One of her best friends was Julia Child. “She would invite me over to her house in Cambridge, and she would always have me make something,” Shire said. There is an inner grit that Shire possesses that led her to be one of the most celebrated chefs in the world. It all started with her first professional position as a salad girl at Boston’s revered Maison Robert, which she said, bluntly, was not her favorite job. “I hated it,” Shire told Maria Stephanos. “I wanted to cook, and I didn’t want to stand there and open oysters and slice patty. You know, that is not creative work.”She moved to London, went to Le Cordon Blue before coming back to Boston’s Maison Robert — this time as a line cook. It didn’t take long for her to become the head chef.”I think the fact that my parents were fashion illustrators — and my mother would work through the night doing fur ads to make extra money for the family. I saw my mother do that and I said, ‘Clearly, the key in life is, you have to work harder than everybody else,'” Shire said. “So that’s what I set out to do.”Shire was behind so many incredibly successful restaurants with some of her dearest friends. But she may have created the biggest buzz in Boston’s culinary scene when she dared to take over the city’s venerable Locke-Ober, one of Boston’s oldest restaurants that closed back in 2012.”I remember being eight years old and going there, but I could only go upstairs, because the downstairs, the men’s café was all men, Shire said. “That wasn’t liberated until 1971.””To me, Locke-Ober was hands-down, you know, the greatest, finest, most beautiful restaurant in Boston,” Shire said. Shire is as genuine and kind as she is an incredible chef. “I respect people and I feel that if somebody is working damn hard in your establishment, you really need to treat them with respect,” Shire said. Shire claims she will be writing a cookbook this summer, but those closest to her — including her husband — have their doubts.

She has been cooking up culinary success for decades.

But for Lydia Shire, the owner of Scampo restaurant, becoming one of the top chefs in Boston and the nation was the result of years of really hard work and years of breaking down barriers so other women could follow in her footsteps.

She dished out plenty of unbelievable stories of her amazing career with a side of humility.

Shire’s abstract reads like a script right out of Hollywood.

She went to high school with Donna Summer at the Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester and was the first female head chef at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

One of her best friends was Julia Child.

“She would invite me over to her house in Cambridge, and she would always have me make something,” Shire said.

There is an inner grit that Shire possesses that led her to be one of the most celebrated chefs in the world.

It all started with her first professional position as a salad girl at Boston’s revered Maison Robert, which she said, bluntly, was not her favorite job.

“I hated it,” Shire told Maria Stephanos. “I wanted to cook, and I didn’t want to stand there and open oysters and slice patty. You know, that is not creative work.”

She moved to London, went to Le Cordon Blue before coming back to Boston’s Maison Robert — this time as a line cook.

It didn’t take long for her to become the head chef.

lydia shire with maria stephanos

“I think the fact that my parents were fashion illustrators — and my mother would work through the night doing fur ads to make extra money for the family. I saw my mother do that and I said, ‘Clearly, the key in life is, you have to work harder than everybody else,'” Shire said. “So that’s what I set out to do.”

Shire was behind so many incredibly successful restaurants with some of her dearest friends.

But she may have created the biggest buzz in Boston’s culinary scene when she dared to take over the city’s venerable Locke-Ober, one of Boston’s oldest restaurants that closed back in 2012.

“I remember being eight years old and going there, but I could only go upstairs, because the downstairs, the men’s café was all men, Shire said. “That wasn’t liberated until 1971.”

“To me, Locke-Ober was hands-down, you know, the greatest, finest, most beautiful restaurant in Boston,” Shire said.

lydia shire with maria stephanos

Shire is as genuine and kind as she is an incredible chef.

“I respect people and I feel that if somebody is working damn hard in your establishment, you really need to treat them with respect,” Shire said.

Shire claims she will be writing a cookbook this summer, but those closest to her — including her husband — have their doubts.

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