I just talked to Kristen Kish, the outgoing chef de cuisine at Menton. She'll stay on at Menton until March 8, and even then, she isn't planning on fleeing Boston. ("I just bought a condo," she says. "Boston is my home.") Also, she's not opening her own restaurant—at least not yet. For now, she's calling her departure a self-exploration. "I just really want to do big things, outside of restaurants. I'll still be cooking, and one day I'll have something of my own. But it won't happen without that exploration part," she says. "This is going to help me build my own future as a chef. I'm going to build 'me,' and whatever that process takes, I'll do it."
She says that Menton owner Barbara Lynch has been supportive. "Right now, I'm at Menton 15 hours a day, and I've been with Barbara for three years. She was the very first person I went to with this decision. She gave me advice as a mentor and a friend." Though she's only been at Menton since June, "I've been with Barbara for a very long time. It doesn't feel like I came in and left," Kish says.
Ultimately, look for her to open up her own restaurant. "My heart lies in fine dining, elegant dining, and I need to connect on a very personal level with my guests, telling them the backstory of their food. In a perfect world, that's where I'll be," she says.