One of my favorite things about Boston, and especially the hospitality industry here, is that it is so full of just really good people who care about the communities they live and work in. Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Summer Solstice party at Steel & Rye, one of my favorite restaurants ever. The party featured eight amazing chefs, all there to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an organization doing incredible work with kids and families in the community.
Chefs included Jeremy Sewall, ICOB & Row 34; Daniel Bojorquez, La Brasa; David Punch, Sycamore & Little Big Diner; Joshua Smith, Moody’s Deli & Moody’s Backroom; Pierce Kelley, Bondir; and Chris Parsons, Brendan Joy and Adrian Vasquez, Steel & Rye.
As we arrived, I noticed the ice sculpture full of Island Creek Oysters and had to get a photo of the Boys & Girls Club engraving before it melted! The oysters were so cold and briny and delicious, summer in New England in a single bite.
Inside we were welcomed with a refreshing, summery gin cocktail and a busy, festive atmosphere full of delicious food!
Steel & Rye’s new pizza oven was definitely getting put to use! They recently introduced pizza to their menu, giving us just another reason to go there.
Chef Jeremy Sewall from Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 offered up these lobster cups, which made me think of the lobster tacos at his former spot, Lineage. Those were amazing, and I am really going to miss that place.
Other bites of the evening included an incredible tuna tartare, a beautifully decorated and very generous short rib from La Brasa, a beautifully plated, cool cucumber dish from Bondir, pizza, and a massive charcuterie display from Moody’s.
Most importantly, throughout the night we had the opportunity to buy raffle tickets and bid on silent auction items, with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. We heard from club staff and members and learned about some of the programs that they maintain the community. The Kids Cafe, for example, provides 300 hot, healthy meals per weeknight for kids and families during the school year and 700 per day during the summer. As we know, for many kids summer isn’t fun. It’s a time that meals had in school go away and with the Kids Cafe, the Boys & Girls Club are helping to create better food security for families in Dorchester. The club’s Safe Summer Streets program provides a place for teens to hang out until 11 pm during the summer, giving them not just a safe place, but a sense of community and care during a time of year when violence spikes in the area. In addition to their daily programs, the clubs also send many kids to camp each summer and they partner with many other organizations, including Team MR8, on sports leagues and other initiatives.
We learned at the event that Steel & Rye supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester year-round, including having kids come into the restaurant to cook. This just makes me want to eat there more! In a world that seems to be so full of violence and hopelessness these days, this event was such a wonderful reminder of all the good that’s out there and of all of the really talented and compassionate chefs we have in the Boston area. I hear it may be an annual event, and I definitely will be there next year!