On Friday, the New York Times Magazine ran an enthralling dual profile of Barbara Lynch, starting even before her days as a "diminutive line cook with thick blue eyeliner and an AquaNet-affixed bouffant" at Todd English's defunct Olives, and Kristen Kish, alum of Barbara Lynch Gruppo and Top Chef. It's well worth reading in full, but here's a selection of some of the best bits.
On Barbara Lynch:
· "Lynch is one of the most accomplished chef-restaurateurs in America, but the fact that she remains largely a cipher outside Boston underscores a truth about the restaurant industry. Two decades after her brush with English, professional kitchens remain...one of "the last bastions of bad behavior" — and women don't thrive in them."
· "Lynch, by her own admission, was not made for TV. When she appeared on the finale of 'Top Chef' in 2012, Grub Street asked, 'Didn't she seem a little bit, well, scowly?' They noted that she looked as if 'she'd rather be at the dentist's office,' which she may well have."
· "Now the only brand Lynch is interested in pushing is that of the female chef. 'It's not about me anymore. It's about the next generation. We need more women in this business.'"
On Kristen Kish:
· "Kish had no interest in being on television, which she feared would play up her looks more than her skills."
· "Offers poured in; some [Kish] accepted (travel to London, Miami and the James Beard 'Women in Whites' dinner in New York), others she rejected (a contract for hawking frozen food that would have paid more than her salary)."
· "She is the rare female chef who has both the culinary chops and the telegenic appeal to suit the extraordinary demands of both professional settings. 'There's this fine line that I'm continually struggling to ride,' Kish says of deciding what's next."
On Todd English:
· "Before she could reply, Lynch recalls, [English] upended the dish — silky sauce, spaghetti and bivalves — onto Lynch. (English denies overturning the dish.)"
· "Once, Lynch says, [English] beaned a slow-moving manager with a pound of butter."
· "...when [Lynch] told [English] that she was going to become the head chef of a competing Italian restaurant, Rocco's, he flung a Coke bottle at her head."
· "'I learned how not to run a restaurant group from Todd English,' [Lynch] said."