By: Marico Corbin
A rush of ladies entered the room at the Sheraton on May 13th for the 25th anniversary Amelia Earhart Award Luncheon honoring Barbara Lynch. Boston-based Barbara Lynch is one of the country's leading chefs and restaurateurs who first gained fame with her highly acclaimed restaurant No. 9 Park. Over the last ten years, she has expanded her Boston-based Barbara Lynch Gruppo to include B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir, Drink, and Sportello.
“Welcome! Hi,” the voice of Elisabeth Babcock, president and CEO of the Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU) floated throughout the room, announcing the commencement of the ceremony. She thanked the crowd for the endless support and spoke a few words about CWU and their goals to help low-income women overcome barriers and succeed in today’s world.
Next on the microphone was Helene Gaudette. Ms. Gaudette amazed the crowd with her empowering story of how CWU changed her life.
By now, I had already devoured my simple piece of salmon that sat atop a bed of leafy greens, potatoes, and crisp green beans and began to get a little overwhelmed by all the questions from all the sociable ladies that surrounded me at my table. I had been asked about three times if I knew a Betsy.
Next, Boston’s own Mayor Thomas Menino said a few words honoring Barbara Lynch and the strength that is represented by CWU. Radio and television personality Ron Della Chiesa then followed and made an introduction to a short clip from the Barbara Lynch documentary “Amuse Bouche.” The movie provided a short look into her life from the scraps of being thrown into chef-dom on a Martha’s Vineyard boat to owning her own restaurant, No. 9 Park.
During the movie I began to pilfer the dessert, a small strawberry tart. As my fork carved into the pastry and took a bite I was satisfied to an extent. Less sweet than expected, I know now why it is called a tart.
Finally Barbara Lynch was presented her award. “I’m always fixing my bra straps,” she said as she came up to the podium one hand sliding across the collar of her shirt. Teary-eyed, she was grateful to be honored with such an award. “If you want something you can talk yourself out of being scared. It’s not you against the world, it’s you against yourself,” she said.
The final touch was when Barbara Lynch was crowned with an original Amelia Earhart leather helmet. What a wonderful and inspirational woman and a great way to spend a lazy Wednesday afternoon!