Tara Lane
619 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 715-0708

Biography »

Antoinette Bruno: What is your philosophy on pastry?
Tara Lane: Follow seasonality and let the fruit or the produce talk to you. Don't compromise on the best produce.

AB: Where did you train?
TL: Le Cordon Bleu at Western Culinary. AB: What pastry tools can't you live without? TL: A digital thermometer for precision. It's the one thing you can trust.

AB: What are your favorite ingredients?
TL: Ground cherries, golden raspberries, pumpkins and squash, saba or arrop (reduction of grape must).

AB: What are your top three tips for dessert success?
TL: 1) Precision and attention to detail; 2) Taste everything, even the finished product; 3) Leave white space on the plate.

AB: Who are your mentors and pastry heroes?
TL: Albert AdriÓ - I admire how he uses basic and simple concepts. He's great at taking a concept and turning it into an experience.

AB: What are your favorite desserts? TL: I love drinks, surprise candies, and doughnuts.

AB: What trends do you see emerging in pastry arts?
TL: The combination of savory and sweet - there are no boundaries. Also design - getting the visual appearance and flavor together.

AB: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
TL: I have a fine arts degree. When does my artwork combine with my pastry? That's my goal. Every night I have a temporary canvas, and I can start again. I want to publish a culinary cookbook. I want to have the conversation about art and design in a book.



Tara Lane

Tara Lane brings an artistic temperament to her craft as Pastry Chef at Chicago’s nationally renowned Blackbird. With a fine arts degree in sculpture from The School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu at Western Culinary, this Texas native integrates her dual passions while creating desserts to complement Chef Paul Kahan’s critically acclaimed cuisine. She mastered the classic techniques of French pastry while working in New York at Payard Patisserie under Master Pastry Chef François Payard. At Blackbird, Lane’s desserts are thoroughly American, often nostalgic, and always playful. She incorporates local and seasonal ingredients in thoughtful and balanced combinations. Contrary to what her background suggests, Lane’s pastries are not sculptural forms but rather emulate the straightforward style of the restaurant’s savory menu.


Vanilla Waffles, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnuts, Marshmallow Fluff
Tara Lane of Blackbird – Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 20 Servings


    Italian Meringue:
  • 300 grams sugar
  • 50 grams glucose
  • 90 grams water
  • 185 grams egg whites
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo:
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Frangelico
  • 1 sheet gelatin, softened
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 5 egg whites
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted

  • Whipped butter or Hazelnut oil
  • Slice of Bacon, fried


For the Italian Meringue:
In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the glucose and water until it is the texture of wet sand. Cook the mixture until it reaches 240ºF. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Pour the heated sugar mixture into the egg whites in a light steady stream. Continue to whisk on high speed until the side of the bowl is completely cool.

For the Waffles:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for pre-heating a waffle iron. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl until a pale yellow ribbon develops. In a separate bowl, mix the butter and the milk. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Alternate pouring the milk mixture and the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Mix completely. Pour batter into the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are light brown and slightly crisp. Cut each waffle into 2 equal squares.

For the Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo:
Whisk together the 5 egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons of the honey, and the Frangelico. Cook mixture in a double boiler until it reaches 160ºF and add the gelatin. Fold in the milk chocolate and the whipped cream.

Heat the remaining honey to 220ºF. When the honey has reached 215ºF, begin whisking the egg whites in a mixer with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Once heated, pour a steady stream of honey into the whisked egg whites. Mix until it is a cool and fluffy meringue.

Fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture and then fold in the hazelnuts. Pour mixture into a flexipan mold and freeze.

Cut the Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo into squares slightly smaller than the waffle squares.

To Assemble and Serve:
Spread some Italian Meringue onto each serving plate. Layer 2 pieces of waffle with a slice of the Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo. Top with a demitasse spoon quenelle of whipped butter or hazelnut oil, and drizzle some clarified butter over the top. Garnish with a small slice of fried bacon.

   Published: November 2005