Overcoming Cultural Boundaries With Chef Marybeth Boller

A passion for food has led to positions in top restaurants around the world for American Marybeth Boller, as well as to her own catering business. When Caroline Kennedy became the American Ambassador to Japan in 2013 she invited Boller to come over and run the embassy kitchens and plan events. The Ambassador’s term finished last year but the chef chose to stay in Japan, feeling there was much more for her to experience here.

Savvy Tokyo catches up with Boller to hear more about her career and how she believes food overcomes cultural barriers.

Chef Marybeth Boller

Could you start by telling us a little about your background and what inspired you to begin a culinary career?

I was born and raised in New York City, the youngest of seven children. My mother was more than happy to have help in the kitchen, and I loved helping my godmother when she experimented with international recipes. I was also fortunate enough to be exposed to many classic, wonderful NY restaurants at an early age. My family was always very supportive. I’m the only person in my family who is in the culinary field.

You worked in top restaurants, including three-star Michelin establishments in England and France, while still in your early 20s. How did you cope with this experience at such a young age and how did it shape you?

Amazing experiences, very demanding and difficult, but I was up for the challenge. You either made it or you didn’t, particularly at Le Gavroche in London. I pushed myself and it made me stronger on multiple levels. I was the only female at L’Auberge de L‘Ill in France and one of three at Le Gavroche. That added another interesting layer.

The love and deep appreciation of food [in Japan] is unique.

What led to the opportunity to …continue reading