Published on March 7, 2016

Michael Scelfo on Alden & Harlow and His Favorite Condiments

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.

Michael Scelfo - Alden & Harlow - Galdones Photography 2016_Photo by Huge Galdones Michael Scelfo. Photo provided by Alden & Harlow. Photo by Huge Galdones.

How would you describe Alden & Harlow’s style?

We are most definitely unpretentious, warm and soulful.

Boston - Alden & Harlow - American - Interior - Decor - Chef The interior. Photo provided by Alden & Harlow. Photo by Kristin Teig.

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.

Boston - Alden & Harlow - American - Interior - Dining Room with Guests The dining room. Photo provided by Alden & Harlow. Photo by Kristin Teig.

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.

Boston - Alden & Harlow - SecretBurger by Jennifer Che The Secret Burger. Photo provided by Alden & Harlow. Photo by Jennifer Che.

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

Boston - Alden & Harlow - American - Pasta, Greens Pasta with greens. Photo provided by Alden & Harlow. Photo by Kristin Teig.

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