Owner/chef of Fromage at 401 West Broadway for the past seven years, Tatyana Sukennik, originally from Ukraine, has both the delicacy and conviction well expressed in her fine European inspired menu of freshly made crepes, soups, and a distinguished wine bar.
She is also someone who seized an opportunity after working at Mass. General Hospital as a medical technol-ogist in the transplant unit for almost twenty years. As with many natural cooks, it was common for her to be encouraged to start a restaurant, but quite another to convert a former pizza place into a sophisticated and unique bistro on one of the busiest and most restaurant saturated streets in South Boston.
“My mother was an amazing cook. If you asked her for a recipe, she would say it takes a little of this and that, and then keep tasting it. When I teach people in the kitchen now I do it the same way. They watch me and then taste and keep perfecting,” she said.
Creativity and ingenuity are not new to Tatyana or her family. “My dad taught himself to knit, and made drums, accordions, and guitars, and also taught himself German and then taught us all of these things. You described something and he could make it,” she said.
“We immigrated to Boston from Ukraine in 1968 and chose this city because my husband had a distant cousin here. I think Boston is one of the greatest cities in the world,” she said. It is a place where she has contributed the strong work ethic, she brings wherever she works. “I go the extra mile. You have to reach high and far to feel satisfied. Here I can do what is my passion and I love cooking for groups.”
Along with the support of her daughter, Stephanie Noonan, she persists in a competitive section of the city she knows well.
“South Boston has been wonderful. It was a ghost town during the pandemic, and we had to close for three months, but we’re back. In addition to the nicely designed interior “We can do some take out and have the outdoors set now, too. The customers appreciate what we have, and that is the biggest reward. They are all kinds of people and more young, friendly well-educated professionals and that is very nice to see,” she said. She also knows people struggling with homelessness who stop by, and she wonders where they are when one day they are gone.
Of course, her mind is never far from her home country and her family still there. “I hear bombing when I call, and my sister said they can’t have the lights on. It is terrible, and for the Russian soldiers, too. They are like brothers, and this is all a great tragedy. I worry all the time, but the American customers are unbelieva-ble. Look at this,” she said, and shared tips up to $1,000 that she uses to purchase non-perishable food for her beloved people under siege.
In the everyday, she struggles along with her peers in the food business to hire people who share her dedica-tion for excellence, and happily awaits a first grandchild in coming weeks. She keeps Fromage active with fresh food and an impressive wine collection Tuesday through Saturday from 12-11PM, and confidently and expertly offers something refreshingly mature in a community and country she loves.
(Carol Masshardt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)