For Chef Josh Lewin, a career in the kitchen was arguably inevitable.
Boston-bred with an expansive family, he was exposed early on to a variety of different kitchens and cooking styles including Italian, Romanian, and Austrian cuisines. Influenced early on by his paternal grandmother, he saw firsthand how one’s travels – in her case, France, Cuba, Africa, Japan – could inspire once back home.
At just 12 years old, Josh began testing out his own recipes and even developed a menu and business plan for a bed & breakfast for the family home where he shared a bedroom with his younger brother.
While it didn’t pan out, he rarely left the kitchen until, a few years later, he transitioned into a more professional kitchen. Beginning as a dishwasher, he quickly became a valuable member of the team and was promoted to line cook while in the middle of high school. Before long, he had redeveloped the dinner program and was managing full time. On the side, Josh took every opportunity he could to learn about food from around the world, taking lessons from exchange students from Spain, France, and Morocco, among others.
Following high school graduation, Josh landed his first real apprenticeship at a family-run steakhouse in Connecticut, getting exposure to late-century Americanized fine dining staples. He also did some dairy farming and bartending, adding to his growing knowledge base. As his passion grew, so did his commitment to the field, and Josh staged with a number of highly regarded chefs and restaurants, including Charlie Trotter’s, No. 9 Park, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Craig on Main, Clio, and Uni Sashimi Bar.
After completing service with the United States Marine Corps, Josh recommitted himself to a career in restaurants, inspired by the universal tradition and importance food has for all peoples across the globe. Landing back in Boston, he joined Beacon Hill Bistro as sous chef in 2010 and became executive chef just two years later.
During this time, Josh and his partner, Katrina Jazayeri, began independently hosting a series of pop-ups and themed events, allowing them to celebrate their own personal favorite things. Thus, Bread & Salt Hospitality was born, and its great success and warm reception allowed the two to pursue the endeavor full time.
Upon leaving Beacon Hill Bistro to pursue Bread & Salt Hospitality in 2014, Josh took to opportunity to stage twice more, this time with James Beard award-winning Vikram Sunderam at Rasika in Washington, DC. and Dominique Crenn at the two Michelin-star Atelier Crenn.
In September 2014, Bread & Salt took the opportunity to open their first restaurant, the temporary “Bread & Salt at Wink & Nod” in Boston’s South End, ensuring the successful launch of an innovative program that now serves as a rotating culinary incubator program for local chefs & pop-ups. For seven months, Josh and his team oversaw the entire menu and kitchen while developing the concept for his own brick & mortar and a new pop up concept, Gitana, celebrating the Spanish cuisine he fell in love with traveling in Barcelona and Sevilla.
Slated to open this summer, the 30 year old chef will introduce Juliet, the first freestanding entity under Bread & Salt Hospitality, to his Somerville, MA neighbors.