Executive Event Coordinator/Partner | MELANIE nye
Final Taste Event & Underground Dining Boston
Born and raised on the South Shore in Massachusetts, Melanie Nye is a former FOX25 & 7News Producer here is Boston. After her 10 year career producing news stories, she transitioned to the hospitality industry. Melanie has held every Front of the House position, from Manger, Server, Captain and Event Coordinator, just to name a few. She has successfully executed any type of function from social and corporative events to large and small weddings. Her strong attention to detail and passion for executing events, while providing the highest level of hospitality is why Melanie continues to have proven success in the industry.
EXECUTIVE CHEF/partenr | RACHID KOURDA
Final Taste Event & Underground Dining Boston
Born in Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, chef Rachid Kourda developed an appreciation for fine food at a young age. His father a diplomat and his mother the General Manager of Home Bank, he dined at the finest restaurants and soon developed a discriminating palate. When his father was offered a position at the Tunisian Embassy in Lyon, France, Kourda jumped at the chance to explore the gastronomic capital of France. He soon registered in the culinary arts program at Lycée Hélène Boucher, located in Lyon where he spent three years learning the ins and outs of the restaurant business from the art of cooking to management to marketing. Armed with his degree, Kourda set off on his culinary journey, traveling to Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and Italy to gain a better understanding and sharpen his skills with international cuisine. In the summer of 1991, when his family returned to Tunisia Kourda enrolled at the Enterprise Food Service University. Even as he studied, he worked for many luxury hotels and continued to develop his culinary and hospitality skills. Upon finishing his studies, Kourda headed for the United States, arriving at LAX in October of 1996. With the whole of the country before him, he decided to explore the culinary traditions of the US and discover some of America's best dishes. From Los Angeles to Miami with stops in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia, Kourda has worked as a General Manager at la Fontana Italian Kitchen in Glendale, California, Sous Chef at Harvard Gardens in Boston and as Executive Chef at Panino Gourmet in Los Angeles. He's worked in the kitchen as Executive Chef at Cafe Toscano Fusionin Massapequa, New York, Anima Bistro in Brooklyn and Nissen 2 in Woodbury, New York. Kourda, whose insight and creativity is limitless, shares this wonderful world of food with diners at Zapp Brasserie at the Red Lion Inn in Cohasset, Massachusetts. A fully active chef and restaurant advisor, Kourda also works to create a cooking network program. WWW.RACHIDKOURDA.COM
WOW! CHEF RACHID KOURDA
Chef Rachid Kourda, Executive Chef and General Manager of Zapp Brasserie at the Red Lion Inn Resort 1704, Cohasset is, in a word, Wow. A wealth of talent, Chef Kourda is a coup for anyone looking for a dining experience they won’t soon forget. From the windswept sands of Tunisia to the cosmopolitan halls of Le Cordon Bleu Lyon to the shores of Sandy Beach, Kourda has acquired and honed a skill which is both art and craft. An effusive persona brimming with confidence without any arrogance, Chef Rachid is so certain he will provide you with a dining experience yet to be found anywhere around, he practically dares you to prove him wrong.
Born the son of a diplomat and successful executive, Kourda cultivated his sophisticated palate from day one, seizing every opportunity presented to him and as a result gleaned a multi-continental education and perspective. At the tender age of 16 his father wisely set him on his path to foodie greatness at Le Cordon Bleu in Lyon, France. That path (perhaps rocky at the outset but we can attribute that to youth) wended its way from Africa to Europe to Los Angeles, New York and finally here to us in Boston, most specifically Cohasset, at the historic Red Lion Inn Resort, which has been so masterfully reincarnated by Gerd Ordelheide.
After his formal education in Lyon, his wanderlust for all things gastronomical and existential took him across Europe for months before his eventual return home to the capital city of Tunisia. Hotel management and marketing for the next two years forced the hand of the Chef with an accent and he decided it was time to exit stage left. And so at another tender ripe age, he flew. First touchdown was Los Angeles where it didn’t matter that he was the son of diplomat, it didn’t matter the training he had received, he was a 20 year old kid that would have to put his time in and sharpen his ESL before he could even begin to envision Executive Chef. The first step on the ladder in any industry all comes down to one rung at a time and for Chef Rachid, determination and focus drove his climb. Coast to coast, from the left to the right he worked his ascent and brought his father’s dream for him to life. Back and forth from L.A. to N.Y. and back again, he directed both the front and the back of the house. His presence is electric and to witness him in his environment is a culmination of a sum of so many parts it’s nearly supernatural.
Driven by the persistent, nagging, relentless desire to conjure ways in which to embody his title, his crown as king of hospitality and master of all things food, he turns to an Irishman for pearls of wisdom and strength. “To get into the best society nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people” said Oscar Wilde and Kourda shoots for the trifecta. His experience from Tunis and Lyon to Los Angeles and Glendale to Massapequea and Brooklyn to Boston and South Shore give us the culinary delights that astonish the eye and the senses. His unadulterated joy in seeing his patrons having a dining experience like none other is what fuels him. Table side service, plates that optically illude, bringing excitement to the mundane (how does one make a sandwich excite and confound?) is just a piece of the pie. The food being presented must not only taste out of this world, Chef Rachid demands that the presentation be extraterrestrial as well. He lives by the rigorous standards he sets for others and is grateful for the chance to bring happiness to every single person, one plate at a time. From dawn to nearly dawn again, the chef with an accent is moving, going, thinking, plotting, and planning the next design, accoutrement, starter, risotto, salad, flatbread, and entree from both the sea and the ‘earth’. He has changed the face of the resort by bringing to the upscale suburb of Cohasset, Euro club entertainment, menus that surpass those in town (that town being Boston) and a dining event you have yet to encounter. He has earned his stripes in the kitchens of the societies Oscar Wilde spoke of and now uses those skills, continually fine tuning them, bringing New American cuisine to life. His energy level is death defying and were he to have a soundtrack to his daily machinations, it would consist of Maxwell mash-ups with Afrojack and Deadmau5, perhaps some Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, some Piaf, and definitely El Azifet.
A loquacious, guileless, entertaining individual, Chef never stops moving – greeting people, checking plates, talking to patrons – his is an existence in 78 speed on the turntable. A man of many talents, Chef Rachid Kourda welcomes the opportunity to meet you, to serve you, to please your palate and make you smile. With the promise and “guarantee there is no one around that can come close to what I do artistically and tastefully” you will be hard pressed to depart the meal disappointed.
An individual whose love for America transcends his North African roots grins in the face of challenges and quotes one of our very own fore fathers: In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.
~ By Maurajane Rodgers
My Dinner with Chef Kourda – a most generous chef
In a country as prosperous as ours we are fortunate that eating is more than giving our bodies proper nutrition. Nowadays, food for the American embodies much more than that. We are addicted to the Food Network, food magazines, foodie books, foodie blogs and foodie TV stars. I believe the reason we are so drawn to the food revolution that has taken over our country is that in this complex world of technology, we have lost touch with one another on a basic human level. And so food, a necessity, is the perfect excuse for us to come together and share and nurture our souls. Food is generosity, food is love.
To be an excellent chef, you must have a naturally generous heart and a spirit that thrives on an unyielding need to please, nurture and love. Chef Rachid Kourda of Brassiere Zapp, located inside the Red Lion Inn in Cohasset, Mass., exemplifies all these fine qualities, making eating at this fine establishment a transcendent experience.
Chef Kourda, who is not only the executive chef, but also the general manager of Brassiere Zapp, is a kind and giving man who grew up in Tunisia and later France. He told me throughout our visit together that he loved America, that it was the best country on earth and that he was intensely happy to be living here. “Life is so good in America,” he said to me, smiling widely, his proclamations full of such genuine passion and sincerity that right at that moment I knew that a man who spoke with such fervency would be able to completely wow anyone he cooked for.
After only a moment of watching him work, I had no doubts that he was the multi-tasking genius behind the exciting new success that Brassiere Zapp is now experiencing. He is a non-stop tornedo of energy who is constantly making sure his customers are getting the very best of food and first rate service. Within half an hour, he was talking to customers, giving pre-meals, preparing for the dinner rush, finding keys, making a demi-glace, cleaning fish, advising his superior staff and making sure there was a enough cash in the register. Despite his numerous tasks, he does them all with a smile. “Life is so good,” he said to me as the busy night unfolded.
While inspecting an impressive batch of oysters, he told me he lived in Los Angeles for a while, working under Wolfgang Puck and his famed Oscar party. “I couldn’t believe it. My dreams had come true,” Chef Kourda said with a twinkle in his eye. After living in LA for a while, he moved to Boston, a city where he had lived before and liked. He took a chef’s job at a restaurant in Dorchester and turned their menu around. Soon after that success, he found himself working for Red Lion’s brilliant and visionary owner Gerd Oredelhede, who eventually gave him full run of Brassiere Zapp. Together with Oredelhede, Chef Kourda put a charming beer garden outside. A new restaurant on the Red Lion’s compound is in the planning stages and will open soon. Its theme and food is not yet determined, but expect something groundbreaking.
Being a chef wasn’t something Chef Kourda wanted at first. He vividly remembers the day when his father handed him a chef’s jacket and said to him, “I have the perfect school for you.” Soon after, Chef Kourda found himself enrolled in the culinary arts program at the famed Lycée Hélène Boucher in Lyon, France, where his father worked as a diplomat and his mother the General Manager of a Home Bank. “At first, I cried. I did not want to work in a restaurant. But I think my father knew I liked being around people and excitement and he was right,” Chef Kourda said, shrugging and letting out a mischievous chuckle.“I really love people.” Count your foodie blessings that Chef Kourda’s father had the keen insight to send his son to culinary school.
This once reluctant chef has turned into a man who fully embraces and cherishes his position as executive chef. His kitchen is impeccably clean, he is downright picky and passionate when it comes to choosing the right food to work with. He shops at food markets all over the south shore and, when the season dictates, he buys locally grown produce. He uses organic ingredients when he can and says it his way of being a good steward of the environment. A die-hard stickler on purchasing the freshest products he can get his hands on, he is no stranger to the local markets, where he is well-known for opening crates of vegetables and digging out the best head of lettuce he can find. Every tomato, purple potato, lobster, clam, mussel, rack of lamb and everything else on his impressive menu is checked and examined and it must pass under his prudent eye. Everything plated by his cooks must obtain Chef Kourda’s approval before being sent out into the dining room. He looks at each plate carefully and thoughtfully, as if looking at a precious jewel through a jeweler’s eye piece. One dish didn’t pass inspection the night I was there and all that was said was this, “This is not good enough, do it again.”
At various moments, he leaves his kitchen to gleefully stroll through the dining room to greet his guests to make sure they are enjoying their experience. Pardon me for saying this, but you’d have to be comatose not enjoy every second of your dining experience in this true stunner of a dining room that was beautifully reconstructed by owner Oredelhede. There are five fireplaces and an enormous butcher block table, all from around 1704. It is an awesome piece of culinary history found on the Red Lion’s grounds and, if you’re a history buff, it is worth a stroll around the dining room to marvel at all these historic elements. The ceiling is cozily low and graced with wooden beams, red chairs, reddish walls, a shiny brass bar, lanterns with candles, worn tavern tables (shabby chic) and barn wood floors throughout that make you feel as if you have been transported midpoint between some cozy bistro in Paris and, perhaps, a funky spot in Greenwich Village. Of course, the sound of Edith Pilaf singing in the background helps make this ethereal illusion even more fun and grand. “When you come out to eat, everything should be beautiful, or else why go out to eat? My food is delicious and beautiful. This dining room is beautiful. Life is beautiful! I like to create illusions of beauty! I like to entertain,” Chef Kourda said proudly.
Back in the kitchen, Chef Kourda scooped a bowl of lobster bisque and put it in front of me, “Here this is for you,” he said. Upon my first spoonful, I knew there was nothing illusionary going on. His lobster bisque was so incredibly divine, creamy and silky that I wanted to jump into the pot of it and stay there forever with a straw or spoon and, to take my enthusiasm one step further, I was tempted to lick the bowl. I would have if I could have gotten away with it, call me crude but I don’t care! His delicious food is stunningly and artistically arranged on beautiful white platters and thick glass slabs of various shapes and sizes and other plates, the ones the lobsters are served on, look like drift wood. These plates are the canvases for Chef Kourda’s artistic brilliance. Before I speak more of all the excellent food I shamelessly devoured, you need to know that Chef Kourda is not only an exceptional chef, he is an artist, a food magician. He can make a cheese platter look like a Kandinsky painting in a matter of minutes. He can make a beet salad not only the best thing you ever eaten, but something you want to hang on your living room wall or something you want to pay thousands of dollars for at an auction at Sotheby’s. By the way, the beet salad and cheese platter are so inexpensive it is criminal, but order it anyway and let the Red Lion roar.
“I have some nice rib-eye, let me make it for you.” His Tunisian (French) accent still present and pleasing, so much so that his web site is entitled, The Chef With An Accent. Of course, I enthusiastically said yes to the steak frites (a popular menu item) and I watched him as closely as one should watch all magicians when trying to figure out their tricks. First Chef Kourda doused the rib-eye in a garlicky chimicurri sauce before it was placed on the grill (chimicurri is a classic Argentinian sauce made with finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar.) After cooking the steak to the utter perfection of medium rare, he placed more of the verdant chimicurri on top and squeezed a fresh lemon all over it. He then let the steak rest for a few moments so the juice inside would redistribute (making for a truly succulent steak) and then he cut into it. He placed a handful of micro cut pommes frites on the side, which are very thin and crispy French fries that are cut to order. He then slid the plate my way. I know a lot of food critics say thing like the “best I ever had,” and use words like “sublime, scrumptious and spectacular” and all those words certainly apply here. I wanted a better word that could best describe this exceptional steak. I didn’t want to use some ordinary word because this is no ordinary steak, its profound goodness deserves the best word ever-- and its own kingdom-- so I made a word up, “Superfantawonderculartious.” Maybe the folks over at Merriam-Webster won’t be calling me anytime soon but I don’t care. I still dream of that steak.
As the night continued, Chef Koruda kept feeding me. It was like being twelve years old again and on an amusement ride that fills you with a bliss that starts in your belly and comes out in pure laughter and moans of absolute joy.
The tempura shrimp was over-the-top delicious, the warm tomato bruschetta was by far the best I have ever had and the fried artichokes were sweet, delicate and briny. The assortment of creative flat breads where imposing and delicious and their ingredients ranged from tasty things like gorgonzola, shrimp, caramelized onions, duck confit, salmon, lamb shank, potato puree, tuna and capers. All flatbreads are topped with a tangy citrus dressing that offset the peppery arugula. There were mussels steamed with tomatoes, wine and bacon; scallops glazed in balsamic vinegar and beet salad with creamy goat cheese, not to mention a to-die-for grilled lamb shoulder. I had a Wagu burger on a brioche rolls that melted in my mouth and almost made me pass out from pure pleasure.
Chef Kourda also lists daily specials. Some are detailed but other times he’ll let his customers know that he has something fresh, be it fish or meat-- it’s up to you let him create something for you. It’s a trust factor and there is no reason not to. You’re in the hands of a master chef and Chef Kourda’s mission is to please and please he will. Period. I wish I could say there was a crown jewel of the menu, but there is not. Everything on the menu is the crown jewel and, sorry to say, you have the awful task in deciding what to order, rest assured you’ll never be disappointed.
The best part of this grand adventure was when Chef Kourda asked me to cook with him. This was a huge honor. He gave me a chef’s jacket and there I was standing in front of a large unit imported from France that consisted of many ranges and ovens. Made out of black iron and brass, this square impressive and beautiful monstrosity sits in the center of his kitchen. I instantly felt like I was transported to some fine restaurant in Paris. On top of this striking unit were pots and pans that simmered with a variety of sauces, and, in one section, there was a grill where meats sizzled and smoked over dancing flames. Dancing? Did I say dancing? Yes I did. Are you ready for this? Every night the dining room turns into a disco, yes that’s right! Chef Kourda turns on a set of laser lights in the dining room and the entire place sparkles with a multitude of bouncing colors. On Friday and Saturday night food is served until 12 and the place jams with fun. The word out on the South Shore is that these disco nights are quite the happening thing. “You need to transport people, entertain people, make them feel good, isn’t that what life is all about? Feeling good?” Chef Kourda said while placing a beer in front of me. He then put on some disco music, lowered the bar lights and turned on the laser lights. His face immediately spotted with spinning colors, he flashed me his wide, playful and generous smile, “See, life is so good. Are you hungry? I can make you something more if you like? I am here to please.”
Check him out at www.rachidkourda.com, find him on Facebook or get to the
“Life Is About Feeling Good” Chef Kourda
It was an incredibly fun adventure interviewing Chef Kourda for South Shore Magazine last night.
Chef Kourda is not only the Executive Chef of Brassiere Zapp at the Red Lion Inn located in Cohasset, Massachusetts but the General Manager as well. To see him work is quite remarkable. He is a multi-tasking, non-stop tornedo of energy who is constantly making sure his customers are getting the very best of food and first rate service.
At one point I had the pleasure of watching him cook and tasting some of his spectacular food; grilled -rib-eye steaks doused in garlicky chimicurri, creamy and silky lobster bisque that was so good I was tempted to lick the bowl (and I would have if I could have gotten away with it) tempura shrimp that were lightly battered and delicate, the best warm Bruschetta I have ever had, a cheese platter that looked like a Kandinsky painting, fried artichokes, lobsters, creative flat breads and whole lot more that honestly made me pant and quiver.
The best part was when Chef Kourda asked me to cook with him. This was a huge honor and treat. He gave me a chef’s jacket and there I was standing in front of a large unit imported from France that consisted of many ranges and ovens. Made out of black iron and brass, this square monstrosity sat in the center of the kitchen. I instantly felt like I was transported to some fine restaurant in Paris. On top of this impressive unit were pots and pans that simmered with a variety of sauces, and in one section there was a grill where meats sizzled and smoked over dancing flames. Dancing? Did I say dancing? –I’m giving too much away here, look for more on this top-notch Chef and his restaurant in the up-coming edition of South Shore Magazine.