Rising Star Chef Tara Lane of Jane Addams Hull House Association - Biography

Chicago, IL

November 2011

2005 Chicago Rising Star Pastry Chef Tara Lane produced desserts that demonstrated classic principles and ideas, yet altered the way we perceive them, pushing the limits of flavor, texture and design at Chicago's Blackbird. The plates that emerged from of Lane’s kitchen teased out subtle characteristics of ingredients not often combined and utilized in pastry. Her desserts were framed by the seasons as she worked directly with farmers of the region. Her pastries were clean and crisp, with a little humor, always evoking a second look, and thought.

Tara Lane intuitively invented desserts as she pulled from her various perspectives on creativity, while remaining humble to classic flavors. The eldest of seven, Lane was raised eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with the entire family that consisted of fresh organic food grown on her family’s farm. With this foundation, she began formal study at the Le Cordon Bleu of Western Culinary in Portland, Oregon. She continued under the tutelage of François Payard in New York, obtaining her in the classic pastry. In order to hone her aesthetic skills, Lane attended The Art Institute of Chicago where she studied various forms of design from print work to sculpture. It was here that she began to focus on the discussion between white space, texture and dimension that composed much of the world of art and design.

Returning to the kitchen at Blackbird, Lane melded her classic culinary and artistic training to innovate pastry. At once comfortably familiar and refreshingly imaginative, Lane found a balance to her work without giving up on the creativity all artists crave. She's currently the Kitchen Manager of Jane Addams Hull House, a not-for-profit that improves social conditions for underserved communities by providing creative, innovative programs and advocating for related public policy reforms. Three years ago, she formed Re-Thinking Soup with her sister, Jessica, a weekly supper club that explores issues affecting food. The group frequently has speakers, including Slow Food Chicago representatives. Today Lane splits her time between Hull House and Re-Thinking Soup.