What is your earliest memory of being interested in food?
I have lots of food memories though one of my early cooking memories is from when I was about 14 years old. I had seen a recipe for a Chinese dish in my mother's Good Housekeeping magazine that must have had over 20 ingredients - most of which I had never heard of. I made my way over to Chinatown to go shopping and then went home and cooked. I loved the process and the fact that I could create something so seemingly exotic and new just by cooking.
What have been the proudest moments of your career so far?
I'm lucky to say I have had a few really special, stand out moments though one of the most amazing was when I was named a Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef - the only female Grand Chef in North America. That had long been a goal I set for myself so I was thrilled to achieve it and to have Menton become Boston's first - and only - Relais & Châteaux property.
Describe the menu at Menton and how often it changes...
I have an incredible team at Menton led by chef Scott Jones who recently became the chef de cuisine (he previously had been the chef de cuisine at No.9 Park, my flagship restaurant). The menu features very beautiful, seasonal dishes that highlight French technique and the gorgeous ingredients we source. The flavours are a bit lighter and more Mediterranean in influence and we offer both a prix fixe menu and a more elaborate chef's tasting menu.
What are a few of your most indispensable ingredients?
I always joke that I should write a cookbook named saffron and olives!
What inspires your cooking the most?
Without a doubt travel and reading.
What kind of experience do you hope to give your guests at restaurant Menton?
My staff and I strive to create an experience that provides an escape for our guests. We hope that they feel cared for and at ease, inspired and excited. At all of my restaurants, it's important that the experience is a balanced one with equally brilliant food, wine, cocktails, and hospitality.