Chef Rachid Kourda, Executive Chef and General Manager of Zapp Brasserie at the Red Lion Inn Resort 1704, Cohasset is, in a word, Wow. A wealth of talent, Chef Kourda is a coup for anyone looking for a dining experience they won’t soon forget. From the windswept sands of Tunisia to the cosmopolitan halls of Le Cordon Bleu Lyon to the shores of Sandy Beach, Kourda has acquired and honed a skill which is both art and craft. An effusive persona brimming with confidence without any arrogance, Chef Rachid is so certain he will provide you with a dining experience yet to be found anywhere around, he practically dares you to prove him wrong.
Born the son of a diplomat and successful executive, Kourda cultivated his sophisticated palate from day one, seizing every opportunity presented to him and as a result gleaned a multi-continental education and perspective. At the tender age of 16 his father wisely set him on his path to foodie greatness at Le Cordon Bleu in Lyon, France. That path (perhaps rocky at the outset but we can attribute that to youth) wended its way from Africa to Europe to Los Angeles, New York and finally here to us in Boston, most specifically Cohasset, at the historic Red Lion Inn Resort, which has been so masterfully reincarnated by Gerd Ordelheide.
After his formal education in Lyon, his wanderlust for all things gastronomical and existential took him across Europe for months before his eventual return home to the capital city of Tunisia. Hotel management and marketing for the next two years forced the hand of the Chef with an accent and he decided it was time to exit stage left. And so at another tender ripe age, he flew. First touchdown was Los Angeles where it didn’t matter that he was the son of diplomat, it didn’t matter the training he had received, he was a 20 year old kid that would have to put his time in and sharpen his ESL before he could even begin to envision Executive Chef. The first step on the ladder in any industry all comes down to one rung at a time and for Chef Rachid, determination and focus drove his climb. Coast to coast, from the left to the right he worked his ascent and brought his father’s dream for him to life. Back and forth from L.A. to N.Y. and back again, he directed both the front and the back of the house. His presence is electric and to witness him in his environment is a culmination of a sum of so many parts it’s nearly supernatural.
Driven by the persistent, nagging, relentless desire to conjure ways in which to embody his title, his crown as king of hospitality and master of all things food, he turns to an Irishman for pearls of wisdom and strength. “To get into the best society nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people” said Oscar Wilde and Kourda shoots for the trifecta. His experience from Tunis and Lyon to Los Angeles and Glendale to Massapequea and Brooklyn to Boston and South Shore give us the culinary delights that astonish the eye and the senses. His unadulterated joy in seeing his patrons having a dining experience like none other is what fuels him. Table side service, plates that optically illude, bringing excitement to the mundane (how does one make a sandwich excite and confound?) is just a piece of the pie. The food being presented must not only taste out of this world, Chef Rachid demands that the presentation be extraterrestrial as well. He lives by the rigorous standards he sets for others and is grateful for the chance to bring happiness to every single person, one plate at a time. From dawn to nearly dawn again, the chef with an accent is moving, going, thinking, plotting, and planning the next design, accoutrement, starter, risotto, salad, flatbread, and entree from both the sea and the ‘earth’. He has changed the face of the resort by bringing to the upscale suburb of Cohasset, Euro club entertainment, menus that surpass those in town (that town being Boston) and a dining event you have yet to encounter. He has earned his stripes in the kitchens of the societies Oscar Wilde spoke of and now uses those skills, continually fine tuning them, bringing New American cuisine to life. His energy level is death defying and were he to have a soundtrack to his daily machinations, it would consist of Maxwell mash-ups with Afrojack and Deadmau5, perhaps some Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, some Piaf, and definitely El Azifet.
A loquacious, guileless, entertaining individual, Chef never stops moving – greeting people, checking plates, talking to patrons – his is an existence in 78 speed on the turntable. A man of many talents, Chef Rachid Kourda welcomes the opportunity to meet you, to serve you, to please your palate and make you smile. With the promise and “guarantee there is no one around that can come close to what I do artistically and tastefully” you will be hard pressed to depart the meal disappointed.
An individual whose love for America transcends his North African roots grins in the face of challenges and quotes one of our very own fore fathers: In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.
~ By Maurajane Rodgers
Check him out at www.rachidkourda.com, find him on Facebook or get to the
Red Lion Inn Resort 1704
71 South Main Street
Discover this gem in real time.