Barbara Lynch Can’t Quite Believe She Made It This Far // Zagat Stories


(jazz music) – My father died a
month before I was born, and my mother worked like three jobs to keep seven kids out of trouble. I grew up in such a chaotic atmosphere that I’m good with chaos. And holy shit, who knew
I could get this far? I’m Barbara Lynch, born
and raised here in Boston. Where I grew up, Mary Ellen
McCormack Housing Projects, it’s still the oldest housing
project in the country. Southie’s tight, it’s
a lot of blue collar. We were all raised by a
single parent, mostly moms. Maybe not having the
attention of a mom and a dad, I got the attention from my friends. I would do anything to
make my friends laugh. Like literally stole an MBTA bus. Don’t do this at home. Even as a young kid, I also
knew how to make money. I was a bookie in my math class. I used to be a BIC girl. Once I was shoveling the Green Line. I had to work since I was a kid. I figured if I could cook, I
knew I’d always have a job. (upbeat music) I love the kitchen, I love cooking. It came natural to me. It’s like a craft, it’s also like a sport. See you in the window, my plate’s gonna be better than yours, don’t touch my shit. (chuckling) Being self-taught gives you an opportunity to kinda find out really what you like. I have this tunnel vision where I don’t care what
anybody else is doing. So you’re reading the Zagat Guide, and I got like seven
restaurants in that guide. Number 9 Park, B & G Oysters,
The Butcher Shop, and Stir, which is a demonstration kitchen. It’s a cookbook store too. I love books. Across town, I have Drink,
which is the cocktail bar, Sportello, it’s like the
heartbeat of this community and then Menton, she’s the mother ship. A restaurant like Menton
takes about 10 years to hit its stride. Now it’s fucking amazing. I mean, people love the food. They love the service. It’s been a long one, but it’s worth it. (smooth jazz music) But I can’t do this forever. That’s the next generation now. We need to reach out and
teach whatever we can. I have not changed much. Probably a little smarter, maybe not. I don’t know if I’m an introvert so much, but I just don’t like bullshit. I like reality, I like rawness,
I like lay it on the table. That’s why I love kitchens. You can make people happy. You can really nurture them with food. It doesn’t have to be fancy,
it just has to be good.

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