Jamie Lauren’s interest in the culinary arts started at a relatively young age, when she spent evenings in the kitchen cooking with her parents, although at the time she had no idea of becoming a chef. From these humble beginnings mixing meatloaf and frying chicken cutlets in Manhattan, she rose to become one of San Francisco Chronicle’s “Rising-Star Chefs” in 2005.
As an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Lauren has had the opportunity to work with many celebrity chefs in the past, including: Anita Lo of Annisa, New York City; Lance Dean Velasquez of Bendean in Berkeley; and Jean-Michel Bouvier, from L’Essential, Chambéery, France. She credits all these chefs for teaching her how to meld exotic flavors and ingredients.
Growing up in New York City, Lauren’s affinity for bright and flavorful cuisine originated with family dinners at some of Manhattan’s best neighborhood restaurants. She held this particular type of food in high regard and at Absinthe Lauren is finally able to recreate it with fresh local ingredients in a way she’s been dreaming of since she started cooking professionally.
Assuming the Executive Chef position at Absinthe in July 2007 was a natural progression in Lauren’s culinary career. Best described as American-influenced French and Northern Italian, Absinthe’s menu echoes Lauren’s commitment to organic, locally grown, seasonal ingredients. Her menu highlights a number of unique dishes that are elevated by her cultured background and grounded in her dedication to making each dish memorable. She explains that her cuisine “looks good and tastes good, but it’s not so refined that you find yourself afraid to touch it. It’s accessible, meaning people are excited to try the dishes on the menu. And a lot of love goes into each dish.”
Lauren has received both local and national praise for elevating the cuisine at Absinthe including being named as Restaurant Hospitality’s “Rising Star Chef 2008” and selected as the sole Bay Area "Cheftestant" on season 5 of Bravo's award-winning show "Top Chef" which aired in 2009.
Lauren lives in San Francisco and, when not at Absinthe, enjoys dining out with friends all around the Bay Area.