WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 180 of 211

Throughout the year, he features a celebrated pan-roasted chicken breast with rapini, new potatoes, and cipollini in a sherry mustard pan jus. And there are always some carefully selected local cheeses, too — hand-picked gems from Wasik's Cheese Shop in Wellesley, which get served with a sweet-savory smorgasbord of pear butter, blood orange and black pepper marmalade, olives, and walnuts jacked up with sugar and spice. The nuances of all those flavors speak to Stokes's experiences as a chef —and to the kinds of cooking he truly adores. "At my heart, I'm a saucier," he says. "I love making soups, stocks, and sauces. I love to braise a lot of foods that are slow-cooked and fork-tender in the winter. I love textured foods that have crispier, crunchy elements mixed with greens. I like sweet and salty combinations—the whole Italian idea of Agrodolce. These Italian sensibilities Stokes counts among his strongest influ- ences — gleaned from his time in Florence under Benedetta Vitali. "I came away from my time living in Italy for years with a tremendous respect for regional Italian cuisine," he says. Diners can appreciate this respect at dinnertime in the form of fresh, handmade pastas like riga- toni with a simmered ragu of braised pork shoulder, sweet sausage, pancetta, and mozzarella. But as much as the food itself is the fulcrum of Red Bird's identity, it's also the overall experience of eating said food that Stokes has brought in from his experiences as a chef at other establishments. "At this point in my career," he says, "my inspiration is coming from my overall path that I've formed over the years." That means, above all, creating an atmosphere that's approachable. "I like to think I'm gen- uine," he says. "So I want Red Bird to be the same. That's why I wanted a kitchen that's exposed. The Franklin had a small window into the kitchen, whereas here it's even more open. And at some point everyone has to walk by the kitchen on the way to the bathroom, so there's an 179 s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e local cuisine "respect for regional Italian cuisine"

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