Kristen Kish on Leaving Menton: ‘I Crave More’

The Top Chef will be handing over the reins to No. 9 Park's Scott Jones next month.

Kristen Kish, Scott Jones

Chef Kristen Kish will leave Menton in March to pursue other opportunities. She’ll be replaced by current No. 9 Park chef de cuisine, Scott Jones. (Kish Photo by Margaret Burdge)

For those of you wanting to visit Menton to catch a glimpse of Top Chef Season 10 winner Kristen Kish, well, you might need move up those reservations. The Barbara Lynch Gruppo announced today that Scott Jones, the current chef de cuisine at Lynch’s flagship No. 9 Park, will be taking over for Kish after she leaves her post at the restaurant on March 8.

“There’s opportunities I need to go and explore,” said Kish over the phone. “I’m just going to take it one day at a time. As beautiful as a company as this is, I need to step away and see what Kristen Kish can do as opposed to Kristen Kish of the Barbara Lynch Gruppo. It’s definitely bittersweet, that’s for sure.”

Although Kish couldn’t specify any of her future endeavors, she did say Boston would remain a “home base.”

“I’ve done a lot of traveling since Top Chef, and I’ve gotten to see and explore and experience some really amazing things. Seeing and being inspired by these brilliant chefs makes me want to make a big impact on this industry. In what way? I’m not exactly sure. For me personally, I want more than just being a part of a restaurant. Of course I want restaurants. I cook, that’s what I do. But I crave more. I want more for myself. I can’t do that when Menton needs someone here all the time to lead this team. And it’s selfish of me to continue doing both.”

Kish has worked for Lynch since 2011 when she began as a sous chef at Stir, the South End demonstration kitchen. She was later promoted to chef de cuisine of Stir before being promoted to the position of chef de cuisine at Menton in June 2013.

As a result of the transition, chef Scott Jones–who, along with husband Ben Wolfe, writes Chefology for Chowder— continues his meteoric rise through the Gruppo hierarchy. The former Harvard PhD candidate joined No.9 Park in 2009 with zero kitchen experience. Since then he’s moved up the ranks, first to rounds cook, then sous chef, and ultimately chef de cuisine.

“I’ve never worked with him, but I think Scott is perfect for Menton,” says Kish. “If you look at his team at No. 9 Park, they adore him. That’s huge! On top of it, his food is fantastic. I’ve eaten at No. 9 a number of times under his reign as chef de cuisine, and I think he is a perfect fit.”

Via a press release this morning, Barbara Lynch said the following of Jones: “While at No. 9 Park, Scott has demonstrated not only an incredible creativity in the kitchen. The food has never looked—or tasted—so amazing, but the ability to lead and inspire an entire line of cooks is no small feat.” Also per the release, Jones will start at Menton in April.

Kish’s recent announcement comes just days after friend and fellow Top Chef contestant Stephanie Cmar announced her own departure from No. 9 Park. But Kish insists that’s only a coincidence.

“We are not doing anything together,” says Kish. “I just texted her and said, ‘Listen, people are going to think we’re starting our own thing,’ I’m going to immediately squash the rumor. She’s leaving No. 9 to pursue her thing, and I’m going to do my own. We have very different paths that we’re going to take. I’m squashing it because I want people to focus on what we’re doing as individuals. We’ll see each other at events and things like that, but our long-term paths are very different.”