Rising Star Pastry Chef Elissa Narow of Perennial Virant - Biography

Chicago, IL

November 2011

After earning a business degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Elissa Narow turned her childhood love for baking into a career via a degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. Her first big job was an assistant pastry chef position at Trio, where she worked under mentor Della Gosset, and began her professional relationship with 2008 Rising Star Restaurateur Shawn McClain.

After three years at Trio Narow was offered the pastry chef position at Blackbird and Avec with Chef Paul Kahan. Her desserts at Blackbird were, like the savory side, seasonally focused and constantly changing. In 2005 Narow re-joined McClain, where she split her talent between two of his three Chicago restaurants: Custom House and Spring. At the first, she created playful, distinctly American desserts, and at the latter she added an Asian element to complement McClain’s modern pan-Asian cuisine. Her work at the restaurants earned her a 2008 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award.

In 2009, Narow transitioned into a teaching role at the Illinois Institute of Art and began her own confections company, Sweet and Naro. In 2011, she joined Rising Star Chef Paul Virant at Vie in Western Springs and the newly retooled Perennial Virant in Chicago.