Meet Boston’s Best Up-and-Coming Chef of 2023

Kendall DaCosta's supper club, Out of Many One People, is a flavor-packed showcase of Afro-American and Caribbean cuisines that draws influences from near and far.

A bearded man in glasses and a baseball cap stands in a professional kitchen, wearing a denim apron and looking at the camera.

Kendall DaCosta. / Photo by Pat Piasecki

Chef Kendall DaCosta has his mom to thank for the title of his supper club, “Out of Many One People.” Shortly before his kickoff event in June 2022, he was chatting with her about how he wanted to celebrate Caribbean cuisine when she reminded him that “Out of Many, One People” is the national motto on her native Jamaica’s coat of arms. Bingo. It was a light-bulb moment that illuminated the whole vibe that he was trying to create with his experiential meals, which use flavors from around the world to highlight Afro-American and Caribbean cuisine. “I just ran with that,” he says, his voice crackling with excitement.

Learn more about the 2023 Best of Boston dining winners here, from hearty bowls of chowder to fancy tasting menus. Or, jump to the Best of Boston homepage to explore winners in shopping, arts and city life, service, and more.

The excitement goes both ways. Held every two months—“I like the exclusivity of that timeframe,” he explains—his popular supper clubs often sell out. Globe-hopping dishes include buttermilk fried rabbit and jerk swordfish congee, but DaCosta’s recent favorite creation is downright culinary syncretism: Mexican street corn prepared in a Japanese style by way of France. He calls it “street corn kushiyaki,” a.k.a. skewered baby corn grilled in the Japanese style, then topped with foie gras bay-leaf butter, Duchess Anna cheese from France, spicy Indonesian sambal, and finished with lime and Thai basil. The result of this cultural mishmash? “You can see how we’re all similar at the end of the day,” DaCosta says. “That’s what I’m aiming for.”

Before charting his own course, the Wichita, Kansas, native moved to town from Maryland and started at hotel restaurants before a turn as executive chef at the now-closed Bastille Kitchen. When COVID hit in 2020, he flew solo as a private chef and launched his experiential sup-per club, first at Lucille Wine Shop in Lynn before partnering with Nzuko in Watertown. Now, his five-course outings—food alongside live music and art exhibitions, with the artists on hand to chat with guests—are as much about community and conversation as cuisine. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something where it’s like art, music, good food, and meeting new people,” he says. “A very positive vibe kind of thing.”