Q&A: Barbara Lynch

 
Michael Prince

During Barbara Lynch’s rough upbringing in Southie, she developed the defiant spirit and daredevil instincts it took to succeed in the culinary world. After leaving Boston to live, train, and cook in Italy and France, Lynch came home—and we’re ever so grateful. Since then, she’s made her mark on the city. From spearheading Boston’s craft cocktail movement at No. 9 Park and Drink, to perfecting New England seafood at B&G Oysters, to crafting exquisite eight-course menus at Menton, Lynch’s chops are now on full display at no less than seven local establishments.

Boston’s best dish:

It’s a toss-up between any of the pizzas at Babbo and the Sultan’s Delight at Oleana (a meze dish with tamarind beef, smoky eggplant purée, and pine nuts).

Desert island spice:

Saffron. I love to use it with shellfish. One of my favorite dishes to make is a saffron stew with shrimp, lobster, clams, and scallops. We are so lucky here in New England to have some of the best local seafood, and I love to showcase it.

Kitchen playlist:

I have one giant playlist that I like to put on when I’m cooking or entertaining. It’s very eclectic and includes everything from Bruno Mars to Turkish folk music. We typically don’t play music in our restaurant kitchens during service so that there are fewer distractions—we need to hear each other and concentrate on the food.

Favorite food destination:

I always come back to Italy, my first and greatest culinary inspiration. I honestly can’t pick just one city because it’s always changing based on where I visit. Last year I was incredibly inspired by cities in Liguria, and more recently by Bari and cities in Puglia. Wherever I am, I always find that my favorite food comes from the home kitchens of locals.

Cooking inspiration:

I’m inspired by cookbooks; I have a giant wall of them at my house in Gloucester. When I was a young cook, I would spend hours poring over Waverly Root’s “The Food of Italy”. I must have read it three or four times on the T during my commute to and from my restaurant job. I’m also incredibly inspired by what’s in season. In my garden this year, I grew rainbow chard, basil, lettuce, and so many tomatoes that I couldn’t even eat them all. Needless to say, I got very creative in using tomatoes in recipes this summer. I also love working with the chefs in my kitchens. They all come from such different backgrounds and have such unique approaches to creating and plating their dishes.

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