Boston 30 Under 30: The Celebration

By Scott Kearnan  |  December 10, 2013

There were oysters. (Lots.) There were cocktails. (Many.) And there was top talent: 30 of the youngest and brightest stars in Boston, in fact. Last night Island Creek Oyster Bar was the center of celebrations for our second annual Boston 30 Under 30, a list of the culinary masterminds, beverage gurus and managerial wunderkinds that are responsible for the best of the city's current dining scene. It was pretty impressive to see them all in one place, and as the noshing and clinking gave way to a small but enthusiastic dance party, we learned they have some other talents too: sweet dance moves and a strong memory for Mariah Carey holiday tunes.

From the minute doors opened until an epic after-party, the soiree was flooded with honorees, hospitality industry VIPs and Boston media. (We also had some special contest winners in the house. Shout-out to the @ZagatBoston Twitter followers who scored entry to the invite-only bash.) There were plenty of star chefs and major restaurateurs on hand to fete the next-generation talent, from Rialto chef Jody Adams (her sous Peter McKenzie is an honoree) to Big Night Entertainment Group impresario Joe Kane. (We were lauding his Joe O'Connor, who oversees the beverage program for BNEG properties like Red Lantern and Empire.) We also noticed some solid representation from last year's crop of Boston 30 Under 30 honorees, including Tres Gatos toque Marcos Sanchez and Deuxave and Boston Chops bigwig Chris Coombs. Also in the house were media reps from area outlets like Boston magazine, The Improper Bostonian and the Boston Herald; you can check out their post-event coverage here

Guests were also lighting up social media. (In fact, the @ZagatBoston Twitter account was momentarily suspended for over-tweeting, clearly the modern sign of a great party.) And they declared a winner in our Social Charity Cocktail Battle; #TeamKatie (that's Katie Emmerson, bar manager of The Hawthorne) served up a triumphant cocktail that earned her a thousand-dollar donation to her charity of choice. All in all, it was an epic night — and a list of honorees that will be tough to top in 2014. But that's a challenge we're happy to accept. (To see all the photos from the Boston 30 Under 30 celebration, head here.) 

  • L'Espalier pastry chef Jared Bacheller enjoys a well-deserved drink rocks well-coiffed hair. (It's as signature as his sweets, FYI.) 

  • Designer and studioTYAK founder Stephen Martyak (at right) is responsible for creating some of the most stylish spaces in Boston: restaurants like Boston Chops and The Sinclair. He looked pretty dapper himself.

  • Big Night Entertainment Group's bar and beverage director Joe O'Connor (center) was proud as punch of the honor. Which reminds us, he makes a really, really good punch

  • Michael Serpa is the chef behind Neptune Oyster, this year's top-rated restaurant in the city by Zagat surveyors. Coincidentally, Island Creek Oyster Bar was the second highest-rated restaurant.

  • Co-founders and publishers Tim (pictured) and Nina Zagat were on hand to personally congratulate the honorees, and explain a little bit more about what makes them so special. He's pictured here with Molly Hopper Sandrof (left, director of talent and staff development at Eastern Standard, Island Creek and others) and the Hawthorne's Katie Emmerson

  • Rialto sous Peter McKenzie (center, with scarf) was congratulated by friends and team members, including grand dame chef Jody Adams. 

  • As one guest commented, "Once the dancing starts, you know a party like this went well." Conclusion: it went great.