Photo Courtesy of Barbara LynchMenton, Chef Barbara Lynch’s newest restaurant, was recently named a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux property, the first and only in the city of Boston. With this unique distinction, Barbara joins an elite group of 19 chefs in North America and 161 top chefs worldwide who have been awarded the title of Grand Chef including Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Daniel Humm. She is currently the only female Grand Chef in North America, and Menton was the only free-standing Grand Chef restaurant to be inducted in January 2012.
JustLuxe: What does it feel like to be the first Boston member of the Relais & Chateaux Association with Menton?
Barbara Lynch: I am pretty happy and proud about it. It’s something I set my mind to about 25 years ago when I first started cooking. When I built Menton, it was something that I had set my staff up for. I am really amazed we got it and I think the team at Relais & Chateaux were also surprised that a restaurant like this existed in Boston. It’s something I set out to do for the City of Boston and was always on my bucket list. The good thing is, it’s off the list and I’m still alive!
JL: How about being the only female Grand Chef in North America?
BL: I am a self-taught chef and to be the only woman in America is truly an honor. I hope it inspires other female chefs as well to follow their dream.
JL: Tell us a little about Menton and how the restaurant stands apart from your others.
BL: Menton is located on the corner of A and Congress Streets about seven minutes from where I grew up. The area is still growing. Menton sits looking down A Street, which is a big memory for me. The restaurant itself feels very luxurious and has amazing silverware from Germany and glassware from Austria. The food is French and Italian but is very refined. It’s a pretty incredible restaurant. I wanted it to feel luxurious without being intimidating so it has that certain elegance and feeling like it’s been there for a long time.
JL: When did you first become interested in cooking?
BL: I always thought I would have a restaurant but never knew I would get this far. I started out looking at magazines like Good Housekeeping that my mother read. I didn’t understand how a recipe could have 25 ingredients in it. Then one day, I decided to make the recipe and then I understood.
JL: What does the future hold for you?
BL: I am starting a nutrition company that will open in South Boston by September called BLinc. It will offer soups, smoothies and shakes that are geared to providing energy and nutrition for women.
Here, the chef shares with us her recipe for Butter Soup, which serves four as a first course.
- 1 pound unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1? pound lobster
- 8 littleneck clams
- 8 mussels
- 4 ounces crab meat
- 1 ounce black caviar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped chive (optional)
- Kosher salt
Steam the mussels and clams in a covered pot with ? cup boiling water until just open. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow the shellfish to cool just until you’re able to handle them. Remove the meat from the shells, set aside, and discard the shells.
In a medium saucepot, bring three tablespoons water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the chilled butter two tablespoons at a time until emulsified. Add the lemon juice to the butter mixture and salt to taste. Hold over low heat. Do not allow the butter mixture to come to a boil or it will separate. If the soup “breaks” whisk in more warm water and stir until re-incorporated.
Add the crab meat, lobster, mussels, and clams to the warm butter mixture and heat gently all the way through.
To make the honey emulsion, whisk the egg yolk and honey together, then slowly pour in one cup warm water while whisking vigorously. The mixture should be foamy.
Using a slotted spoon, divide the shellfish equally among four small warmed bowls. Pour butter soup over shellfish to cover (approximately three tablespoons for each serving; there will be some leftover, refrigerate and gently reheat for another use).
Garnish with one teaspoon honey “foam,” black caviar, and chopped chive (if using). Serve immediately.
Barbara Lynch will also be participating in this year’s Relais & Chateaux Grands Chefs Dinner in New York City. The dinner is being held on April 16 at Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway and will feature more than 40 chefs showcasing some of their most exceptional dishes. A limited allotment of tickets is available for purchase at RelaisChateaux.com. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels.