Dining Playbook Chef Competition

The annual chef competition, sponsored in 2018 by Dining Playbook, is one of the most anticipated moments of the New England Food Show. Two of Boston’s most exciting chefs—Rory Lee, chef de cuisine at Moona and Rachel Miller chef/owner of Nightshade Pop Up—faced off with Jenny Johnson, host of Dining Playbook on NESN, as the celebrity emcee.

Chef Rory Lee of Moona took home the title with his pan-fried skate wing served with pasta in a butter and white wine sauce, all served on top of a fennel-tahini sauce.


Rory Lee
Chef de Cuisine, Moona

Rory Lee was born and raised in South Boston and became infatuated with cooking as a young boy watching his mother and grandmother prepare meals for his big family. Today Lee is the chef de cuisine at Moona Restaurant, an Eastern Mediterranean eatery in Cambridge’s Inman Square. Moona loosely translates to "pantry," draws on the authentic influences of Turkey, Morocco, Greece and more, and Lee modernizes these traditional cuisines to appeal to today’s New England palate.

Lee began his culinary journey at the beloved Sullivan’s at Castle Island, but it wasn’t until he took his first job at KO Pies in South Boston that he really fell in love with all things cooking including making dough. After three years at KO Pies, Lee moved on to manage Stone and Skillet English Muffin Company where he honed his skills as a bread maker.

In 2016, Lee began as a line cook at Moona and has since worked his way up, learning the importance of the literal translation of “Moona,” specifically the culinary tradition of nourishment, sustenance and purity in the Arabic and Eastern Mediterranean cultures.

If you had asked Lee eight years ago what his passion was, he would have said playing music alongside his band members, but now he lives for family, friends and food. When Lee isn’t in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two-year-old son. Lee is an avid supporter of Daily Table, which provides delicious and affordable food to the community, as well as the Original Local Music Outreach Program.





Rachel Miller
Chef / Owner

Rachel Miller first fell in love with cooking while working at a small restaurant on the coast of Virginia. She discovered the profound sensory impact of terroir since the restaurant sourced ingredients from nearby farms and local fishermen. She became fascinated with butchering and charcuterie, which quickly propelled her to move to Boston to pursue her talents with the knife. Over the next eight years, Miller worked in some of the best kitchens in Boston, taking on the role of executive sous chef at Bondir Restaurants, chef de cuisine at TW Food, Coppa and, most notably Clio, Ken Oringer’s award-winning flagship restaurant. She also was named one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30: Boston’s Hottest Up-and-Comers.”

In the spring of 2017, Miller unveiled her pop-up restaurant Nightshade, a fine dining experience that offers coursed meals with wine and beverage pairings, focusing on local producers, modern cooking techniques and the flavors of Vietnam. Miller has attracted audiences to Nightshade with her creative and elegant culinary style and her team of stellar collaborators including sommelier Sarah Marshall and pastry chef Giselle Miller. She currently works as executive chef at Soall Bistro in Marblehead and is happy to be expanding her knowledge of Vietnamese cooking while living close to the ocean.




Hosted by:

Jenny Johnson, Dining Playbook