Meet the Chefs… Pino Maffeo, Executive Chef Il Molo

Executive Chef Pino Maffeo

Pino Maffeo is an award-winning chef with an impressive background in culinary training and a unique food philosophy.  Maffeo’s strong Italian roots have kept him drawn to the culinary world since a young age and after attending Newbury Culinary College, the East Boston native took off on a culinary “tour” around the country, working at numerous restaurants within different cities such as San Francisco and New York City, where he learned the art of world cuisine from an impressive roster of European chefs.

In San Francisco, Maffeo opened Molhern & Shackern alongside Laurence Vito, who, at the time, was a spokesperson of Californian cuisine, before taking over as chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s Inn at the Opera where he spent three fruitful and distinguishable years.  Maffeo eventually moved back to Boston and became executive chef of Sage Restaurant, an instant hit located in Boston’s famous North End, an Italian haven where he helped change the entire mentality of how the neighborhood ate and brought a new standard of cooking to the esteemed Boston neighborhood.   

In 1988, Maffeo brought his wealth of talent to Manhattan where he earned rave reviews from Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times for his inventive menus and unique approach.

He returned to Boston and brought Louis Boston’s Restaurant L to fruition, which within a year became noted as one of the most acclaimed new restaurants in the country.

Maffeo garnered several media awards including being named “Top Ten New Restaurants of the Year” by Travel & Leisure, “Best New Restaurants in the World” in Robb Report’s “Best of the Best” issue and one of “Boston’s Best New Faces.” He also was chosen by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the “Best New Chefs” in America.  Maffeo has appeared on NBC’s“Today Show”, CBS’s“The Early Show”, The Food Network“Good Morning America” and PBS’s “Simply Ming” hosted by fellow Boston chef extraordinaire Ming Tsai.Additionally, Maffeo has been featured in Men’s Health, Playboy,  The New Yorker, Food & Wine, Bon Appetite, Where Magazine,  Art Culinaire, Food Arts, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and many more.  Maffeo has been a special guest speaker at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for The Lemelson-MIT Program that is dedicated to honoring the acclaimed and unsung heroes who have helped improve our lives through invention. 

Today, Maffeo is the executive chef at the acclaimed il Molo restaurant in Boston’s historical North End neighborhood which opened along Commercial Street in July of 2016.

We are grateful to have the support of Pino Maffeo in this year’s Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer. Visit Il Molo in The North End and save room for his very special dessert which will raise money for breast cancer research.


Meet the Chefs… Pastry Chef, Shawn Dresser of Rowes Wharf Sea Grille

Pastry Chef Shawn Dresser

Shawn was born and raised in Abington, Massachusetts, Shawn Dresser realized his passion for culinary at the young age of eight. He found a love for cooking shows and admired through his screen the talents of Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. Picking up new skills along the way, Shawn committed to cooking full Sunday dinners for his family, unknowingly beginning his successful career in hospitality.

Despite his young age, Shawn always showed an eagerness to learn and grow as a chef- even asking for a wok on his 10th birthday! This drive and passion to succeed only grew as he attended the French Pastry School in Chicago, Illinois as well as the Notter School in Orlando, Florida and Newbury College in Brookline, MA.

Prior to joining the Boston Harbor Hotel team in 2008, Shawn was a Pastry Chef at the Hotel@MIT and the Seaport Hotel in Boston. 

Formally trained in savory, Shawn Dresser has become the creator behind all of the perfect pastries and decadent baked goods at the Boston Harbor Hotel.  Shawn is passionate about his role as Executive Pastry Chef, and his immense talent and artistry are displayed in his creations that are equally as eye-catching as they are delicious. 

Aside from being in the kitchen, Shawn finds the most joy spending time with his wife, Nicola, and his daughter, Audrina.

We greatly appreciate the support of Shawn and Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in this year’s Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer.  He will have an amazing dessert waiting for you which will help us raise money for breast cancer research. 



Meet the Chefs…Jakob White & Fernanda Tapia of Comedor

Comedor chef-owner duo Fernanda Tapia & Jakob White met while studying culinary arts at Boston University and after years of working in kitchens in and around Boston, they decided to open their dream restaurant. Hailing from their respective backgrounds, upstate New York and Santiago, Chile, they pair their childhood flavors with the technique and skills they accumulated over the years to create the food they serve at Comedor.

Each and every year during the week of Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer,they create a special ice cream flavor.  100% of the sales from their creatively crafted ice cream flavor supports breast cancer. Visit them, save room for dessert.  Indulge, it is after all for a good cause.


Meet the Chefs… Steven Peljovich of Michael’s Deli

Steven Peljovich- Michael’s Deli

Meet Steven Peljovich – owner of Michael’s Deli for the past 7 years.  Michael’s Deli has been around slinging New York deli since 1977.  In fact, all of the meats are imported from the Bronx and then cooked on site.  Born and raised in Miami Beach, but now Bostonian (Needhamite) for the last 20 years. He will be donating 50% of all of our dessert sales during the week, including his special Strawberry Bread Pudding Knish to Boston Bakes! Go visit Steven in Brookline!  After you finish this plater of deli, save room for all of his desserts because they all will support breast cancer research.  If you are too full, take some home to enjoy later! Sweet!


Meet the Chefs… Executive Chef Adrienne Wright of Deuxave and Boston Chops

Chef Adrienne earned her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and culinary nutrition from Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI. Upon graduating, she secured a position working as a line cook at the critically acclaimed Arrows in Ogunquit Maine, then Radius in Boston. Within just one year on the line, she was promoted to Sous Chef where she worked alongside award-winning Chef Michael Schlow. In December of 2011, Chef Owner Chris Coombs recruited Chef Adrienne as Sous Chef for Deuxave. She is now managing the four kitchens of Boston Urban Hospitality as Executive Chef, developing menus and new dishes as well as training and mentoring the next generation of chefs at Deuxave, Boston Chops and dbar. Chef A, as her team calls her, was also finalist on this seasons Top Chef.

Enjoy the desserts Chef Adrienne has created to help raise money for breast cancer research during the week of #BostonBakes! At Deuxave enjoy their Honey Bavarois, Poached Rhubarb, Olive Oil Cake, Poppy Seed Ice Cream.

Then visit both locations of Boston Chops and finish your meal with their Warm Brownie Sundae, Fresh Strawberries, Strawberry Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce & Cultured Chantilly Cream.  It raises money for breast cancer research.


Meet the Chefs… Kerry Levesque of Artisan Bistro

With just over a decade of professional pastry experience, including a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Kerry Levesque has become one of the youngest talents to helm The Ritz-Carlton, Boston’s hotel pastry program. In her role as Pastry Supervisor at the hotel, she has elevated the pastry program to widespread acclaim. According to the hotel’s Executive Chef Robert Bruce, Kerry’s pastry department touches every area of the hotel, from desserts in Artisan Bistro and Avery Bar, to seasonal ballroom buffets with extravagant party stations, to creating highly personalized and themed guest amenities. She’s also been the creative force behind the hotel’s holiday pastry décor which is seen and enjoyed by thousands of guests passing through the hotel lobby during the festive holiday season.

In her role as pastry supervisor, Levesque also oversees all pastry operations for the hotel’s social events including weddings, large corporate events and non-profit galas and is responsible for the daily a la carte Club Lounge pastry presentations.

Levesque’s zest for her craft keeps her work relevant and creative and she continuously gets recognized by guests and peers for her exceptional work, drive and involvement with community partners like the non-profit, Family Reach, where she’s orchestrated the annual fundraiser’s pastry course with the such notable chefs including Joanne Chang. For guests of Family Reach, Levesque creatively provided a climatic “wow” for the evening with each of her hand-made desserts made to look like late-snacks but were actually pastry burgers, pieces of sushi and fruit caviar in sweet disguise.

Always one to challenge herself and her team, together they have built a14-foot tall lighthouse from gingerbread and macaroons in the hotel lobby, and to celebrate the holiday season and the hotel’s relationship with the Boston Ballet during performances of The Nutcracker, she constructed an actual ballerina made from chocolate. In addition, Levesque has also built a life-size gingerbread “shoppe” which covered the facade of the hotel’s holiday gift shop. The shoppe was 18 feet long by 11 feet high and made with real gingerbread bricks, frosting and treats from the “Land of Sweets.” All of these structures are made and supervised by Kerry, they are larger than life and they are made entirely from sweets and pastries.

Executive Chef Bruce says that Kerry’s contributions to the hotel’s culinary team are “beyond compare. She’s a talent who loves her job, and her passion and enthusiasm clearly show in every pastry and dessert that she presents to our guests. She makes every Ritz-Carlton experience that much more memorable, and sweeter of course!”

Outside of the pastry kitchen, you can often find Levesque, a native of Massachusetts, weekending at Swifts beach with her family. She currently lives in Woburn with her husband and young son, Daniel.

Visit Artisan Bistro at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston during the week of Boston Bakes. Save room for their special dessert that will raise money for breast cancer research.


What is Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy has been traditionally used as an “adjuvant” treatment in many patients with cancer—administered after surgery to kill microscopic tumor cells that remain in the body after surgical removal of the tumor. More recently, it has also come to be used in a “neoadjuvant” setting—to shrink tumors before they are surgically removed.

In some cases, neoadjuvant chemotherapy can make for better surgical options for a patient: It can turn an inoperable cancer into a treatable one by decreasing its size. In others, it can allow patients to become eligible for less-extensive forms of surgery than they otherwise might have required.

Oral chemotherapy pills.
Oral chemotherapy pills.

For instance, some women with breast cancer who would have needed a mastectomy to remove a large tumor might be candidates for a less invasive “lumpectomy” if the tumor can be shrunk with chemotherapy. Patients with an advanced form of laryngeal cancer, to take another example, can often preserve their larynx if they’re treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy, and the same may be true for patients with bladder cancer.

Other types of cancer therapy besides chemotherapy can be used in the neoadjuvant setting—that is, prior to the delivery of the main treatment. Hormone-blocking drugs, for instance, are sometimes used to shrink prostate tumors before treatment with radiation therapy. Radiation therapy can itself be a neoadjuvant treatment and is being studied in breast cancer and prostate cancer in clinical trials.

Because both adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy kill cancer cells that have spread from the initial tumor to other parts of the body, they often help patients often live longer than they would have if they had been treated with surgery alone. When patients receive neoadjuvant therapy, they work closely with a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists to make sure all the treatments are coordinated together.


Not all patients are eligible for neoadjuvant treatments. The decision of whether to proceed with a neoadjuvant therapy depends on factors such as tumor size and location, its responsiveness to therapy, the patient’s overall health, and other considerations. Patients should work with their doctor in considering the best option.

Courtesy of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute



The Importance of Breast Cancer Research and the work of Dr. Rachel Freedman

Funds raised in 2019 will support the research of Dr. Rachel Freedman

Dr. Rachel Freedman is a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Medical Director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative. Her research primarily focuses on the care of vulnerable patients populations who are not well represented in clinical trials to date and who suffer from worse outcomes once they are diagnosed with breast cancer. Her research has included large scale database and registry-based studies, focus group studies, survey studies, and interventions targeted towards improving the evidence base and outcomes for women at risk for poor outcomes. 

We will be supporting Dr. Freedman’s research in older women with breast cancer.  Although breast cancer is more common in aging populations, older women with breast cancer are under-represented in research, are more likely be under-treated, and are at higher risk for worse survival from their breast cancer compared with middle-aged women.  Older women have unique needs when it comes to managing other medical problems, transportation, and financial concerns.  Dr. Freedman’s research focuses on developing a better understanding of why outcomes in older patients are worse, what may get in the way of receiving treatments, and how we can develop treatments for older patients that work well and are tolerable. Dr. Freedman has a number of studies dedicated to this group of patients, including clinical trials and observational studies where surveys are conducted to better understand patient and their experiences.

Dr. Freedman is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine.  She completed her residency at Beth Israel Medical Center and her medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She received a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University’s School of Public Health and has been on faculty at Dana-Farber since 2009. She is incredibly appreciative of and honored to receive the generous support from Bakes for Breast Cancer which go will go directly to fund her projects dedicated to older patients with breast cancer which is an area of research that has been vastly under-funded.


Here are 5 Ways You Can Help!

We share this from our friends at ValuLine!

These are ways you can always help and make a difference  in the fight against breast cancer all year long.



A Prescription for Healthy Living: How Diet and Exercise Can Help Cancer Patients

A Prescription for Healthy Living: How Diet and Exercise Can Help Cancer Patients

A patient’s treatment plan for fighting cancer doesn’t stop at the hospital door. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, in terms of diet and exercise, is especially important for cancer patients in reducing stress, minimizing side effects, and boosting energy levels to power through treatment and recovery.

More than 93 million American adults could be counted as obese in 2016, according to the most recently available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “Obesity not only increases the risks of developing cancer; it also increases the risks of complications in diagnosed patients,” says Jennifer Ligibel, MD, director of Dana-Farber’s Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living.

Plus, in some common cancers, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, many patients now tend to gain—rather than lose—weight during treatment.

“That contradicts a common misperception that people have had for many years,” Ligibel continues. “Some patients think, ‘I have cancer. I have to make sure I don’t lose weight,’ so they bulk up. But we have much better medications to help patients avoid nausea and weight loss during treatment now than we did even a few years ago.

“Many people become less active during their cancer treatment, and even afterward,” says Ligibel. “Some cancer treatments can also contribute to weight gain.”

Jennifer Ligibel, MD.

How Patients Can Evaluate and Manage Their Diet

Ligibel recommends following the American Cancer Society’s guidelines on nutrition and weight management. They emphasize a plant-based diet with most nutrients coming from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish.

“When you look across a population of people who have healthy behaviors—they eat a plant-based diet, their weight is in the normal range—we know that those people are less likely to get cancer in the first place,” Ligibel says. “In some cases, they are also less likely to have it comes back after it develops.”Blueberries.

Why Exercise is Important

Exercise is crucial in helping patients lose and manage weight and also provides other critical health benefits.

“If you exercise during your cancer treatment, and afterward, that can help prevent some of the long-term side effects that patients can develop from cancer treatment,” Ligibel says. “Exercise has been shown to reduce side effects like fatigue and joint pains from cancer treatments. Patients also feel better when they exercise and experience less anxiety and depression.”

Exercise also helps to preserve muscle; muscle loss often happens during cancer treatment, and can make recovery difficult, Ligibel says.

Those very side effects—especially fatigue—can make it difficult for patients to feel motivated to exercise in the first place. What’s important is to start now, wherever you are in your treatment, and to start slowly.

“I tell patients that 10 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing,” says Nancy Campbell, a clinical exercise physiologist at the Zakim Center. “Patients don’t have to go to a gym, start training for a marathon or buy expensive equipment. All it takes is a walk out your door or around your house to get started.”

Campbell suggests using a fitness tracking device, be it a basic pedometer, a smart phone app or Fitbit. After wearing it for a few weeks, you should have a baseline of your activity during treatment weeks, non-treatment weeks and weekends.

“It gives patients a good gauge of how much activity they are doing and how to gradually increase it,” she explains. “As people start to feel better, they get excited and do more and sometimes may do too much too soon. The device gives you feedback to let you know if you need to add more activity. If patients are sedentary, some of the apps buzz to remind you to move around every hour.”

To rebuild your muscle tone, Campbell suggests signing up for the free Live Strong program offered by YMCA locations across the country. This 12-week physical fitness program is designed specifically for cancer patients.

“There are also plenty of things you can do on your own at home,” she says. “You can get creative with light weights, such as soup cans, at home. But get some professional guidance before you start.”

Yoga, too, has been shown to have significant benefits for cancer patients in terms of reducing fatigue, improving sleep and improving quality of life.

“The data shows us that staying active during treatment definitely helps,” Campbell says. “Just doing a little something can take the edge off the nausea and fatigue, improve your mood and help take your mind off of it all.”

Courtesy of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute