Steve Johnson, The Blue Room

2001 Best Chef, General Excellence

There is something to be said for dependability. In Steve Johnson’s case, it’s knowing that every time you visit his restaurant, you’ll be served a meal that is simply outstanding. Johnson’s food is neither overwrought nor overly ambitious—it’s honest and easygoing, just like him. As a founding member of Chefs Collaborative and chairman of the Boston chapter, he continues to be one of the guiding forces in Boston’s restaurant scene, serving as a mentor and inspiration in the industry. But most important, since he bought the place five years ago from pal Chris Schlesinger, the Blue Room has flourished—so much so that this year the James Beard Foundation recognized Johnson with a prestigious nomination for chef in the Northeast. So whether it’s his morel mushroom lasagna, sautéed halibut with fennel and fava, or our favorite appetizer, “one perfect cheese” served with fruit and dried almonds, we’ll keep coming back for more. Johnson is just that good.

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