Mystic Market: Meet Chef Ashley

Most soup/salad/sandwich/prepared food shops don’t have executive chefs.

Then again, most of those places are not Mystic Market.

The Saugatuck spot — in the former Blu Parrot/ Jasmine/Arrow restaurant building, opposite the railroad station parking lot — just hired someone new for that position.

Ashley Boucaud brings an intriguing resume to her new gig. She grew up in both Manhattan and Trinidad & Tobago. When she started her photojournalism major at New York University, she was not interested in cooking. It was “a chore,” she says.

But during college she began cooking for friends. Then she hosted dinner parties.

Ashley’s friends loved her food, and encouraged her to do more.

She did. After a chance meeting with a student at Johnson & Wales University, she applied to — and was accepted at — the famed culinary school.

Four years in Providence turned into 8. Ashley loved the city’s robust food scene, and worked at restaurants there like Amsterdam and Parkside.

Jobs at Stamford’s Westin Hotel and UBS came next. In 2005 she started a private business. Ashley spent the past 14 years catering dinners and private parties.

Recently, Cecily Gans — Ashley’s former Johnson & Wales roommate, now a highly respected culinary arts instructor at Staples High School — told her that Mystic Market needed a new executive chef.

Cecily Gans (left) and Ashley Boucaud.

Ashley realized quickly that the entire team shared her passion for food. And Mystic Market’s mission — “cooking for good people” — is exactly what she’d been doing all along.

As executive chef she creates menus, oversees the staff, and ensures quality.

Since beginning there, Ashley has brought a bit of her West Indian background to Westport. “Big on seasoning,” she added fresh herbs and spices to recipes. She introduced vegan dishes with a bit of curry. New soups like Korean beef have sold out.

She’s particularly proud of “Chef Ashley’s braised short ribs.”

“I’m happy to come to work,” she says. “The hours are long. But I love it here. We have an amazing staff, and a great team.”

Ashley Boucaud (4th from right), and her Mystic Market team. Westport general manager David Griswold Jr. is at far left.

Looking ahead, Ashley hopes to expand the catering menu.

She’s also impressed with the many nationalities she’s met in Westport. “This is a diverse town,” she says. “I learn a lot from everyone. I want to bring what I learn to Mystic Market.”

(Mystic Market is now open at 7 a.m. Hot foods have proven very popular.)

 

4 responses to “Mystic Market: Meet Chef Ashley

  1. Chris Bisceglie

    Thank you Dan for covering not only the story of a fantasic chef but also a fantastic person ! Congtalations Ashley Boucaud on this recognition for all the long hours you work to feed hungry souls. Your quick smile and enthusiasm also fuels another kind of hunger. May you have continued success at The Mystic Market !

  2. Judith Marks-White

     Dan,

    Thanks. I finally learned what the elusive Mystic Market is all about. A well-hidden secret now brought to life by way of your terrific blog post. Chef Ashley Boucaud sounds amazing. Kudos to Cecily Gans, too.

    Judith Marks-White

    Sent from my iPhone

    >>

  3. They used to be open at 8am. THEN they closed until 9am and lost my morning business. (NEXT ro a commuter train station and opening at 9am? What were they thinking?)

    Now they are back to 7am? Yes, as they should.

    Good place, good for the new chef. I will stop in soon (morning) and say hi.

  4. Hopefully she can help Mystic Market fix all the issues of poor quality and stale foods!

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