A devoted family man who cooks from the heart, Michael Scelfo is the chef and owner of Alden & Harlow in Boston. The beloved Harvard Square spot — a local favorite since it opened in January 2014 — has received numerous accolades and was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards in 2015. We caught up with Scelfo on the best and worst parts of running a restaurant, his typical breakfast and what’s always in his fridge.
How would you describe Alden & Harlow’s style?
We are most definitely unpretentious, warm and soulful.
Best and worst things about running a restaurant?
Well, the best thing is the opportunity to express yourself completely. The tough part is knowing how to balance the sacrifices that comes with it.
One piece of advice for aspiring restaurateurs?
I would tell chef owners: don’t forget to cook for your guests. Put them ahead of yourself — that’s how you stay relevant.
Something surprising people don’t know about you?
I lived in 11 different houses in four different states before I graduated high school, and that makes up the best and the worst parts of me.
Typical breakfast? Egg whites and grated Pecorino on a flax wrap
Late night snack? Nuts and olives or sharp cheese like aged provolone
Guilty pleasure? Chocolate, the darker the better
Favorite condiment? Salt, lemon or anchovy — it’s a tie
Item you can’t live without? My children, easy
Any food you hate? Nope, love it all
What would we always find in your fridge? Hummus, olives, cheese, Korean pickles and kimchee, grapes