The Shack’s chef named a James Beard semifinalist

English muffin pizzas started Ian Boden on his culinary path. He says he loves what he does and doesn’t “know how to do anything else.” Photo by Norm Shafer English muffin pizzas started Ian Boden on his culinary path. He says he loves what he does and doesn’t “know how to do anything else.” Photo by Norm Shafer

The James Beard Foundation just released its list of 2017 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists, and Staunton chef Ian Boden landed one of the coveted spots. He’s in the running for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic; winners will be announced May 1.

Boden, who cooks new American cuisine inspired by rural Virginia at The Shack—named one of the best 100 restaurants in the South by Southern Living magazine—answered a few questions for us about his eating and cooking habits past and present. (Who doesn’t love a good English muffin pizza?)

C-VILLE Weekly: What did you have for breakfast?

Ian Boden: A few cups of coffee and a croissant from Newtown Baking.

What was the first thing you ever cooked?

I can’t say for sure, but I’m going to guess it was English muffin pizzas in the toaster oven.

You have 15 minutes to cook something for dinner. What do you make?

Pasta, most likely.

When you were a kid, what was your favorite school lunch?

I was never a fan of school lunch, really. In high school I ate fries out of the vending machines…that was pretty much it.

Why are you a chef?

I love what I do and I don’t know how to do anything else, really (not that it makes a difference).

Who’s the person you’d most like to cook for, and what would you make?

Edna Lewis and Grandma Tissy; whatever is on hand. I love that Ms. Lewis finally got some due, even if it was from “Top Chef.” It’s unfortunate that so many cooks, and Southern cooks at that, previously had no idea who she was and what she meant to so many. [Editor’s note: Chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis put Southern cooking on the culinary map and was hailed as “the South’s answer to Julia Child.”]

Grandma Tissy is my wife’s grandma; she passed away before my wife and I met. She was the matriarch of her family and raised five kids in a shack in Swoope, Virginia—that shack is our restaurant logo.

Raise a glass

Last month, several local vineyards and wineries earned medals at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the world’s largest American wines contest:

Afton Mountain Vineyards took home double gold for its 2012 Petit Verdot, while the 2012 Festa di Bacco red blend and the 2014 Cabernet Sauvigon each took home a silver medal.

Barboursville Vineyards earned gold for its 2013 and 2014 Octagon wines and 2014 Cabernet Franc and silver for its 2015 Vermentino and 2015 Vigonier.

DuCard Vineyards in Etlan took home silver for its 2014 Petit Verdot and bronze for its 2014 Cabernet Franc.

Glass House Winery in Free Union won silver for its 2014 Twenty-First (a Bordeaux blend) and its 2014 Chambourcin, and bronze for its 2015 Viognier.

Jefferson Vineyards netted double gold for its 2015 Viognier and gold for its 2014 Petit Verdot.

Stinson Vineyards in Crozet earned silver for its 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and bronze for its 2013 Tannat.

Trump Winery nabbed double gold for its 2009 Brut Reserve, gold for its 2010 Blanc de Blanc and bronze for its 2015 Meritage.

Whitehall Vineyards in Crozet took silver for its 2015 Chardonnay.

Veritas Vineyards and Winery in Afton collected four medals—double gold for its 2014 Petit Verdot; gold for its 2015 Sauvignon Blanc; and two silvers, one for its 2014 Veritas (a Bordeaux blend) and one for its 2015 Sauvingon Blanc.*

Tasty Tidbits

According to a sign posted in the restaurant’s window, Downtown Thai is for sale.

Texas Roadhouse steakhouse will open in Albemarle Square on Route 29 by the fourth week in February.

Feelin’ Saucy Pizzeria will open on 14th Street on the UVA Corner—its menu touts “buy one pizza, get one free (of equal or lesser value).”

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza will open soon in The Shops at Stonefield; according to signs in the window and posts on the restaurant’s Facebook page, they’re still in the hiring phase.

Monsoon Siam Togogo has opened in Main Street Market. Call in your favorite Thai dish from Monsoon’s menu for pick-up (284-7117).

Former Northern Exposure chef Tony Bonanno is the new owner and chef of the Madison Inn Restaurant at 217 N. Main St. in Madison, where he’s cooking Italian and continental infusion food.

*This article was updated at 12:43pm February 27 to include all local wineries that won medals at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

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