Reports in The New York Times and The Boston Globe have detailed accusations against Barbara Lynch, a well-known chef who owns several upscale restaurants, including No. 9 Park and Menton.
The allegations claim that Lynch has mistreated workers physically and verbally, often after drinking. Many local players in the restaurant industry have reacted strongly to these reports.
The allegations against Lynch have stirred outrage on social media. For some, there is a sense of relief that the alleged mistreatment has been exposed.
Boston hospitality and PR consultant Patrick Maguire wrote on Instagram that the story was “decades overdue.”
He called the accusations against Lynch one of Boston’s “dirty secrets” and criticized “blind, ‘Celebrity chef’ worship and defense.”
Lynch has responded to the accusations, stating that she considers her 160 employees as “part of my family.”
She has called the accusations against her “fantastical,” acknowledging that she is a hard-charging boss.
Lynch also stated that she is a creature of the alcohol-steeped hospitality and restaurant industry.
In a 2017 memoir, Lynch told her own story of growing up in a housing project in South Boston, never going to culinary school, and building a high-end restaurant empire.
Her restaurants include B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, and Stir in the South End, and Drink and Sportello downtown.
Lynch is currently in the process of opening another restaurant, The Rudder, in Gloucester.
The news of Lynch’s alleged mistreatment of workers comes after other well-known chefs have been called out for inappropriate comments or abuses of power at work.
This has left some, such as Irene Li, co-owner of Mei Mei in South Boston, feeling distressed over the years, discovering how many “open secrets” there were in Boston’s restaurant community.