With Mother’s Day and parenting on our minds, we continue our series of interviews with famous chefs who are raising children as they raise their reputations in the culinary world. Today, Boston chef Barbara Lynch discusses how she approaches dining out with her young daughter.
James Beard award-winning chef/restaurateur Barbara Lynch, whose newest restaurant is Menton, grew up in the hardscrabble neighborhood of South Boston, getting her first kitchen job cooking at a local rectory at the age of 13. Since then, she has become one of Boston’s most revered chefs — as well as a mom to daughter Marchesa, 6, and a proud stepmom to three grown children. It’s no surprise, then, that she advocates for parents to dine out with their children at an early age. She urges, “Take them out! The sooner they are taught table manners and included in dinners out, the sooner they will behave and maybe even become more adventurous eaters.”
For your first trips dining out with your child, “Start with places that you know the kids will love or that are particularly child-friendly and then work your way up to other types of restaurants. Eating together should be a fun experience and a chance to enjoy each other’s company.” Lynch and her friends would include her daughter in relaxing Sunday brunches with nearly a dozen of friends. She says, “Marchesa could color at the table while we chatted, and the fact that she absolutely loved the chocolate cake helped, too.”
Lynch says of her daughter’s developing palate, “From the time she was a baby, she adored gnocchi with Mimolette, which is like REALLY, REALLY good mac and cheese! These days she can’t get enough of the fried calamari at B&G Oysters…loves them!” If your child isn’t ready for these flavors, she suggests, “I think every child goes through phases where they hate all green things or will only eat macaroni and cheese, but they are usually just that — phases and short-lived. I think the trick is to encourage them to have a bit of everything—just try!”