Rising Star Baker Art and Chelsea Jackson of Pleasant House Bakery - Biography

Chicago, IL

May 2015


Growing up an hour outside Chicago, Art Jackson attended Illinois State University and Kendall College. His formative years in the kitchen were spent in Chicago at Les Nomades and at Fifth Floor in San Francisco. He later returned to Chicago, where he was executive chef at Bijan’s Bistro for eight years.

Kansas native Chelsea Jackson attended Northwestern University and Kendall College. She grew up loving sweet and savory pies, but it wasn’t until she spent some time in England that she was introduced to English pasty—a rather middling iteration of it, which she later found out is all one gets from a chip shop.

From the very beginning the couple had an itch for ownership. Instead of reviving Art’s French cooking roots, they harkened Art’s English heritage and opted to transform an old hotdog stand into Chicago’s first British pie shop. What began as modest Pleasant House Bakery rapidly became an outlet for sophisticated, chef-driven, seasonal meat pies, which they have dubbed Royal Pies, anchored by a dual philosophy of community and eco-responsibility (including an ambitious composting program), with sourcing done at their own Pleasant Farms. Success, and a food truck, followed, as did Pleasant House Three Oaks and Pleasant House Brewing Company in Michigan. The Jacksons are now milling local grains as part of their new naturally leavened, wood-fired bread bakery, which will no doubt be another Pleasant venture that expresses a modest concept immeasurably well.


Photo credit: John Towner