Rising Star Pastry Chef Amanda Shepard of Lula Café - Biography

Chicago, IL

May 2018

 More than a decade and a half old, Lula Cafe has been an important proving ground for many of Chicago’s best chefs. Amanda Shepard is a natural addition to its culinary lineage.

In 2008, Shepard enrolled at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, where she became a teaching assistant and earned an associate degree in baking and pastry arts and a bachelor of food service management. After graduating in 2012, the young chef’s relatively short—but shrewdly crafted career—has had Shepard working for some of the best mentors she could find. By the end of 2013, she was head pastry cook at Keegan Gerhard’s D Bar Denver and helped Gerhard open D Bar in San Diego. 

She spent the next six months as a pastry cook at San Francisco’s threeMichelin-star Quince, followed by a career-shaping year and a half as a pastry assistant to mentor and Rising Stars alum Juan Contreras at Atelier Crenn.

At Lula, Shepard’s desserts oscillate between comforting and surprising. She might tuck a spice blend into a cookie batter or pump up an ice cream base with funky brie. In her hands, a homey sticky toffee pudding has the improbable character of an amaro courtesy of matcha, butterscotch, and dates. Her style is meant to both please and intrigue, and there’s no doubt Shepard will gain the national attention she merits.