From Corporate to Culinary: Chef Christa Lynch's Journey with Brooklyn Braised

Chef Christa Lynch blends her financial acumen with culinary artistry with a commitment to community empowerment and equity.

From Corporate to Culinary: Chef Christa Lynch's Journey with Brooklyn Braised

Photo Cred: Chef Christa Lynch 

Chef Christa Lynch started her catering business after spending years in the corporate sector. Before working in the banking and trading industry, she graduated with a law degree from New York University and an MBA from Columbia University.
While business acumen runs through her bones, her passion for banking did not drive her into the office. After leaving the industry, she rediscovered her love for cooking, having worked in professional kitchens since she was 14.

I recently thought, what would my life have been like if I had stayed in banking?

Brooklyn Braised caters to sustainable luxury dining experiences

Currently, Brooklyn Braised, Chef Christa’s farm-to-table enterprise, offers catering for close-knit gatherings, events, and corporate dining. Her experience in the corporate sector prepared her for the industry’s business aspects, from communicating with clients to differentiating herself on the market.  

There are 1000s of private chefs and catering businesses in New York; how will you set yourself apart by your service offerings, operating in the kitchen, or communicating with your clients?

Finding community building within the hospitality industry

Working in professional kitchens from 14, Chef Christa worked in both low and high-profile kitchens, including with Daniel Boulud and David Burke. While her initial restaurants were home to both men and women line cooks, she became one of the only women in the room as she rose and worked in more high-pressure restaurants.

I connected with a female chef who had her arm broken because she fired somebody in her kitchen, and he pushed her over and broke her arm. In my conversations with other female chefs, we're constantly talking about our kitchen experiences, about our mistreatment in this industry.

Connecting with her community of chefs, she finds she is not alone in these experiences. However, now as the Founder and Executive Chef of her own company, she ensures equity in her kitchens, with all Brooklyn Braised vendors being minority and women-owned.

The more I rose and worked in very high-pressure restaurants, I learned that this is part of culinary life. I had to develop a very thick skin - I have definitely cried in the walk-in, wiped my tears, and returned on the line.

Supporting the community through public service

From hiring to supporting local shelters with leftover meals, Chef Christa creates initiatives to support her local community through food service. To ensure further equity, she has redeveloped her hiring practices to employ formerly incarcerated women and men. 

My business only thrives when people come together. I don't want to only create unforgettable dining experiences but also be able to serve. I want to bring people services that help them get with their own lives.

During the pandemic, Meals on Us, Brooklyn Braised’s public service initiative, allowed her to support  The Kensington Family Shelter by donating restaurant meals to families. Chef Christa redefines what we consider the hospitality industry and who it is meant to serve through her initiatives. 

'Elevated comfort food'

Through virtual classes, Chef Christa brings elevated comfort food to the table at home. Showcasing her skillset as a classically trained chef with her Cape Verdean background, Chef Christa carefully designs menus to represent her background. 

Ensuring all meals and virtual classes bring in components of fresh ingredients, she pays homage to the islands of Cape Verde. Expressed in her live Wake n Bake! – a virtual class that combines Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits and fresh French compote, Chef Christa transports participants beyond the traditional buttermilk biscuit. 

Brooklyn Braised ensures fresh produce is available by serving sustainable luxury catering and elevated comfort food. However, by employing her business acumen, Chef Christa has improved her community’s wellbeing and increased equity in the industry. While Brooklyn Braised’s initial mission was to create unforgettable dining experiences – Chef Christa paves a new pathway for a better hospitality industry. 

Planning a team-building event?

Explore our virtual and in-person cooking classes, mixology experiences and more — all hosted by Black chefs and culinary creators.