Q&A: Lydia Reichert of Sycamore

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If you’ve dined at Sycamore, you might have wondered what wunderkind is in the kitchen composing those perfectly crisp croquettes and refreshingly colorful pea salads. Meet Lydia Reichert. She’s cooked in kitchens around Spain and traveled throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and southern Africa—hence Sycamore’s eclectic menu with unmistakable Spanish influence. Following cooking gigs at Quince in San Francisco and Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Reichert teamed up with chef David Punch to helm the kitchen at this popular Newton Centre spot.

Boston’s best dish:

I love Cafe Sushi’s chef’s choice sashimi—it’s always different, interesting, and delicious.

Desert island spice:

Piment d’Espelette. It adds a lovely little touch of heat that’s zesty and floral; it’s great with fish, beans, eggplant, etc.

Kitchen playlist:

I go with Rodrigo y Gabriela or Taj Mahal.

Favorite food destination:

San Sebastián, Spain. The Parte Vieja is so much fun, hopping from bar to bar and getting pintxos and a small beer. Also, some of the best meals and restaurant experiences I have ever had were at Etxebarri, Mugaritz, and Elkano.

Cooking inspiration:

Beautiful products, especially when spring first starts and everything cooking in the kitchen is green: favas, peas, ramps, artichokes, green garlic. It’s just all so fresh and vibrant—the possibilities seem endless.

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