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For reservations, call The James Beard House at (212) 675-4984 or (800) 36-BEARD.

Beard Birthday Fortnight

James Beard Award Winners

Susan Regis Lydia Shire
Biba and Pignoli , Boston

Wednesday, April 28, 7:00 pm
Members $100 , guests $125

The food served at Biba and Pignoli is not for the faint-of-heart, those whom Boston's first lady of cooking, Julia Child, has sometimes pooh-poohed as "nutritional nervous Nellies." At their beloved Boston restaurants, owner/chef Lydia Shire and chef Susan Regis serve vivid, sensuous, full-flavored food that is exhilarating to eat. "Shire has a missionary zeal about joie de vivre in food," Restaurants & Institutions once wrote. "I love salt," Shire told the magazine. "I love fat. Roast chicken without skin? How can you even dream of it? It's sad, this feeling of prohibition in America about food. How many years do we want to live?"

Many, thank you very much, and we can only hope that those years are filled with lusty, luxurious meals prepared by the likes of this talented pair. After a painful divorce that left her with small children and bills, Shire, a talented home cook, got a job cleaning lettuce at Maison Robert, one of Boston's finest restaurants. To acquire some credentials, she went off to study at London's Cordon Bleu. Shire eventually returned to Boston, where she slowly rose through the ranks at the city's best restaurants and hotels, including Maison Robert, Harvest, the Copley Plaza, Parker House, and Bostonian. Ten years ago, she opened Biba, and her intensely flavored, eclectic American food made it an instant favorite. Boston Magazine called it the "Best Restaurant in Boston"; The Boston Globe gave Biba four stars; and Money magazine put Biba on its list of America's top 15 restaurants. Pignoli opened its doors in 1993, specializing in regional Italian cuisine, and like its sister restaurant, it immediately became one of the hottest tables in town, serving what Bob Tremblay of Weekend Guide called "culinary masterpieces."

Shire met Regis when the pair worked together at Seasons Restaurant in the Bostonian Hotel. Regis joined Shire when the latter moved to California to cook at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel, and later followed her back to Boston to open Biba. Regis, executive chef at Biba, has twice been named "Best Chef in Boston" by the Improper Bostonian. Both she and Shire have also been named the American Express/James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Northeast-Shire in 1992, and Regis in 1998. Join us as we welcome them back into our kitchen.


Biba-Inspired Tapas

Charcoaled Rare Beef Splashed
with a Hot Bath of Angulas and Spring Garlic

with Slight Smoke and Biba's Pistachio Salsa Verde

Roasted Milk-Fed Lamb
with Aged Oloroso Montilla


Puffed Maple Doughnut
with Caramel Ice and Demitasse of Steaming White Coffee Mocha


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