The Breakdown: A Dish from Mary Dumont’s Cultivar

After decades in the kitchen, the former Harvest executive chef is about to open her first restaurant, in the Ames Hotel.

cultivar mary dumont

Photograph by Nina Gallant

1. Dumont whips together creamy Ibérico ham lardo and puréed sage to create a rich, earthy element.
2. Tart pomegranate seeds bring vibrant color to the dish.
3. Snow-pellet-like Japanese rice balls, or arare, sprinkled on and around the squash add texture, as does the toasted cashew “gremolata” on the plate.
4. For a sweet-smoky flavor, Dumont roasts Kabocha squash with maple syrup until it’s just tender, then finishes it on a Japanese coal grill.

Mary Dumont can now add urban farmer to her résumé. At Cultivar, the chef is tending to an on-site freight-container farm that will supply her kitchen with produce year round. In keeping with the restaurant’s name—a cultivar is a plant produced by selective breeding—Dumont is cherry-picking elements from her past for her first project as an owner. The menu reflects the French techniques she picked up as a young chef in California and the refined take on New England fare she developed at Harvest, not to mention some Asian cooking methods that feel fresh to her now (see: this coal-grilled Kabocha squash). “It’s a clean slate, and I can do whatever I want,” she says.

Expected to open spring 2017. One Court St., Boston, 617-979-8203.