Chef Kir Jensen of The Sugar Cube - Biography

Portland, OR

November 2011

Originally from Chicago, 2011 Rising Star Kir Jensen is a first generation American born from two European parents, so her diet growing up was far from the Wonderbread sandwich variety. She first studied pastry at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. During her time there she scored a stage at the prestigious Trio in Evanston. Shortly after, a pastry cook position opened up and her career took off. She worked under the influential young pastry chef Della Gossett (who eventually became the pastry chef at Charlie Trotter’s and mentored many a fledgling pastry cook).

Gossett’s sensibility and approach helped shape Jensen’s pastry. Strong technique and inventive flavor combinations meant that Gossett’s desserts were creative and thoughtful, but still well-balanced. Jensen took that lesson to heart, crafting a simple approach that focuses on highlighting seasonal ingredients. After moving to Portland, Jensen worked at Genoa, Clarklewis, and Florio Bakery. In 2008 she struck out on her own, purchasing an 8 x 12-foot food cart and opening The Sugar Cube,. The business took off, and over the next five years Jensen baked like a mad woman and grew her brand, including a cart upgrade and the release of her first cookbook, The Sugar Cube: 50 Deliciously Twisted Treats From The Sweetest Little Food Cart On The Planet (Chronicle Books 2012). Midway through 2013 she teamed up with a business partner and moved into a bakery space on Alberta St. This brick-and-mortar Sugar Cube, plus the new team Jensen has brought on board, has allowed her to expand her menu into breakfast and brunch offerings and drum up some serious catering and wholesale business. Jensen has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, and Travel & Leisure.