The Mansion's chefs artfully craft fresh local fish, regional meats, and produce into a distinctly native, seasonal menu, served in four dining rooms. From appetizers to desserts, imaginative presentation and exceptional taste characterize Castle Hill Inn's fine dining experience.
In 1998, Barbara opened a restaurant of her own, No. 9 Park, in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The restaurant immediately received rave reviews from publications around the country and was named one of the “Top 25 New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit and “Best New Restaurant” by Food & Wine.
Barbara expanded her presence in Boston by opening two restaurants in the South End in 2003: B&G Oysters, serving exquisitely fresh oysters and New England classics, and The Butcher Shop, a wine bar and full service butcher shop. Barbara continued to grow her culinary empire by opening three unique concepts in succession: In 2005, Niche Catour, a catering company; Plum Produce in September 2006, and next door, Stir, a demonstration kitchen and cookbook store in 2007.
In fall 2008 Barbara launched two concepts in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood: Drink, a bar dedicated to the craft of the cocktail, and Sportello (Italian for counter service), Barbara’s modern interpretation of a diner. Her catering company, 9 at Home (formerly Niche Catour), relocated to Fort Point in 2008 as well. In spring 2010 Barbara and her team opened the eagerly anticipated third concept in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, Menton, a fine dining restaurant. Menton has received several accolades, including being named one of Bon Appétit and Esquire magazines’ best new restaurants in 2010, being nominated as a James Beard Foundation Awards 2011 finalist for Best New Restaurant, and a 4 star review from The Boston Globe. In 2012, Menton’s reputation as a culinary destination earned the restaurant AAA’s Five Diamond Award and Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star Award. Menton is the first and only Relais & Châteaux Property in Boston, and Barbara is the only female in the United States to hold the distinguished title of Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux.
Barbara’s talents have continued to garner numerous accolades over the years, both locally and nationally. In 2003, The James Beard Foundation named her “Best Chef Northeast” and Travel & Leisure proclaimed No. 9 Park one of the “Top 50 Restaurants in America.” For two consecutive years, No. 9 Park was named “Best Restaurant, General Excellence” by Boston Magazine and Gourmet included it as one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” in 2006. In 2007, Boston Magazine named Barbara “Best Chef.”
Barbara and her recipes have been featured in many publications including Saveur, Boston Common, Bon Appétitt, The New York Times, and Inc. magazine. She was one of a handful of Bostonians to be profiled in the ABC-TV documentary series “Boston 24/7” and is the subject of a documentary film entitled “Amuse Bouche–A Chef’s Tale.”
In 2009, Barbara was honored to receive the Crittenton Women’s Union’s Amelia Earhart Award. Past recipients include Doris Kearns Goodwin and Julia Child. She is also a member of distinguished industry organizations including the Bocuse d’Or USA’s Culinary Council, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, and Les Maîtres Cuisiniers. Women Chefs & Restaurateurs presented her with the 2011 Barbara Tropp President’s Award. As a member of the Bocuse d’Or USA Culinary Council, Barbara judged the Bocuse d’Or Commis and Finalist Competition in 2012. Because of her unique story and entrepreneurial insight, Barbara has had the privilege of participating as a panelist and speaker at events including The Ad Club’s Women in Leadership Forum, the Massachusetts Conference for Women, and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs’ National Conference.
Barbara’s first cookbook, Stir: Mixing It Up in The Italian Tradition, was published by Houghton Mifflin in fall 2009 and immediately earned praise from both media and home cooks and received a prestigious Gourmand award for “Best Chef Cookbook” for the US.
As the CEO of Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Barbara oversees the operations of eight concepts and employs over 200 people. In addition to running her company, each year she dedicates time and resources to several neighborhood organizations around the city of Boston as well as a number of local and national philanthropic missions. In 2011, she and the Gruppo team launched an initiative dedicated to cultivating healthy, sustainable eating habits through hands-on learning ingardens and classrooms at Boston’s at-risk schools.
Inspired at an early age by his mother’s cooking, Karsten grew up in Louisiana in a melting pot of cultural influences, with German and Italian parents who loved to cook. Karsten’s first cooking jobs were in small, Cajun-style and Italian restaurants, but he learned the most working in a Chinese eatery where time on the wok station really instilled a passion for learning different cooking techniques. “I realized I was good at cooking and it was something that I truly loved. I knew that if I could learn different techniques, it would only make me a better chef in the end.”
Chef Hart went on to further his formal culinary education at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Upon graduation, he headed back to Louisiana and joined the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, a five star, five diamond property as its Sous Chef. Later, he became Executive Chef at the Estate by the Elderberries.
Chef Hart’s culinary heroes are those with whom he has had the honor of working, James Overbaugh, the Executive Chef at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills and French Master Chef Rene Bajeux.
At Castle Hill, Chef Hart brings his constantly-evolving culinary philosophy to the award-winning property. He is a strong proponent of cooking with ingredients unique to the area and combing classic technique with original ideas. A student of different cultures, Chef Hart enjoys an international view of cooking and readily embraces different techniques. “I study just about every culture you can imagine. My style is constantly changing, but I’m continuously refining my craft and learning along the way.”
Karsten resides in Middletown with his wife, Deja.