As a Chestnut Hill College student, Christa Lynch ’03 made extra money working at Bruno’s, the well-known eatery and hang-out right across the street from the College. A career in the restaurant business was not in her plans as an undergraduate sociology major. Her 3-year stint at Bruno’s was her first real experience working in kitchens and restaurants, but it wouldn’t be her last.
Fast forward to 2020, and Lynch finds herself in the Food Network’s Chopped Kitchen competing against three other chefs for the coveted Chopped championship. She was also recognized in September as a COVID-19 Hero for her work in providing food security in her Brooklyn neighborhood through a non-profit she founded. Her route to these accomplishments could not have been predicted.
Originally from Philadelphia, Lynch graduated from Friends Select School and attended Chestnut Hill College for its small class size. After graduating, she moved to New York, where the thorough education and zeal for academic excellence she absorbed at CHC propelled her to continue her educational journey, earning a law degree from New York University School of Law and an MBA from Columbia University. She worked in the banking and trading industry for more than 10 years before it hit her that the day-to-day corporate life was not her purpose. She made up her mind to pursue a career that would fulfill her desires for personal and professional growth, while being a positive force in the community.
In the true spirit of a CHC alum, Lynch has embraced the opportunities provided through personal and professional growth and has found a meaningful career doing something she loves. Now living in New York, Lynch works as a Sous Chef at Google’s New York HQ in Chelsea, and is the founder and owner of Brooklyn Braised, a farm-to-table catering, hospitality, and event production company.
“I wanted to find something that I was passionate about. Restaurants, culinary, and entertaining have always been a part of my life; it was something that I always enjoyed - being a part of that community,” said Lynch on the founding of her company, Brooklyn Braised.
This year, Lynch shifted her work at Brooklyn Braised to directly serve her community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She launched Meals on Us, a nonprofit affiliate of Brooklyn Braised, to support CAMBA’s The Kensington Family Shelter. The Shelter serves as a supportive residential facility for nearly 60 families, many with children under 12 years old. Through this project, Lynch works with several restaurant partners to provide families with three days’ worth of healthy and hearty meals. More than 4,000 meals were distributed through the program in its first 8-week cycle, and Lynch and her team are currently fundraising for a second cycle.
It was for this initiative that Lynch was recently recognized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and presented with a special citation for her work, as she was named a COVID-19 Hero during a special ceremony in September.
“Brooklyn has always been a food desert, but the quarantine and the pandemic has made it more drastic,” said Lynch. “This project has provided me with a direct touchpoint to helping the community by doing something that I love. I was shocked by the honor and the support from the community and humbled to be with such great company.” Lynch, who also serves on CAMBA’s Junior Board, looks to continue her service beyond the pandemic and is dedicated to reducing food insecurity and hunger in her community.
Nowadays, Lynch spends more of her time behind-the-scenes than in the kitchen, working with teams of six to 35 members on creating and planning culinary experiences for different audiences. Through Brooklyn Braised, Lynch offers private chef services and event production for special occasions and intimate dining gatherings at home, as well as workplace, on-site dining for companies and organizations, with clients like Twitter and Amazon.
With Brooklyn Braised, a minority, woman-owned and operated business, Lynch has created an inclusive workplace that supports local and minority owned vendors, drives job growth, and fills a much-needed gap in the community for quality food services.
Lynch is looking forward to continuing this path forward by opening a boutique grocery store and event space that will serve as the HQ for Brooklyn Braised and Meals on Us, scheduled for spring 2021.
At Chestnut Hill College, we are truly proud to celebrate alumni like Christa Lynch who continue to keep the traditions and values of the College alive beyond the campus and in their communities.
- Samantha Byles