The Thrive Questionnaire//

Chef Barbara Lynch On The Tupac Song That Gives Her Strength

Plus why she loves naps.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Barbara Lynch: I feed my two dogs some frozen bone marrow around 5 AM – one is still a puppy! – so that I can squeeze in another hour of sleep. Then I make breakfast for my daughter, and I’ll usually give her inside-out french braids. Then, I’ll take the dogs outside after breakfast.

TG: What gives you energy?
BL: Nice weather and a great night’s sleep

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
BL: I like to put collagen powder in everything – it improves your skin’s elasticity and makes your hair and nails shiny.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
BL: Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. I devoured that book – I found it fascinating to read about the class systems so long ago, and how religion was such a driving force for so many. I read it when I was in my 20’s and still think about it often.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
BL: To be honest, I’d rather not even have a phone – and more often than not, it’s not with me (either lost or left behind somewhere).

TG: How do you deal with email?
BL: I like to print out and mull over important emails. I’m very tactile and prefer paper over digital every time. I also forward anything significant to my team, so that we can discuss offline.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
BL: I would probably take a nap 🙂

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
BL: I feel burnt out at the end of a long travel week – I realize I’m not a young, rockstar chef anymore, and traveling is exhausting! I like to maintain some semblance of ritual when I travel, and I try to get in a workout, get a good night’s sleep, and walk a lot.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
BL: I felt as if I let my family and my work team down after I got an OUI. It was an eyeopening experience for me, and now I’m writing about some of my experiences in an upcoming book. Writing is cathartic for me.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
BL: I know it’s from a Tupac song (does that give me street cred?), but I love the meaning behind this lyric: “Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned how to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe FRESH air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.”

As Chef/Owner of the Boston-based Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Barbara oversees seven celebrated culinary concepts, including No.9 Park, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir, Drink, Sportello, and Menton. Her cookbook, Stir: Mixing It Up in The Italian Tradition, received the prestigious Gourmand Award for Best Chef Cookbook and she shares her life story through her memoir, Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire, released April 11, 2017. Barbara is the only female, American Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, and has earned two James Beard Foundation Awards (Best Chef Northeast and Outstanding Restaurateur) as well as an Amelia Earhart Award for her success in a male-dominated field. In 2017, Barbara was named to the TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of the world’s most powerful people.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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