Rising Star Pastry Chef Nicole Krasinski - Biography

November 2011

Nicole Krasinski began making breads and pastries for her friends and family while studying photography at DeAnza College in Cupertino, California. After moving to Chicago in 1996 to attend the Art Institute of Chicago to study photography, she realized her true passion was not in the darkroom, but in the kitchen. Red Hen Bakery had just opened in Chicago’s Wicker Park and it was there, under Nancy Carey, that Krasinski professionally developed her skills in baking hand-crafted breads and pastries. In the spring of 2000, Krasinski’s long time partner, Chef Stuart Brioza, accepted an Executive Chef position at Tapawingo in Ellsworth, Michigan, owned by Harlan Peterson. Krasinski took on the position of Pastry Chef and began to develop her style of cooking, blending simplicity with seasonal and local foods. Lured by warm weather, the seasonal bounty, and a desire to return to her home state, Krasinski left Michigan in the autumn of 2003, and in the spring of 2004 took the Pastry Chef position at Rubicon. After a break from the restaurant world, Krasinski and Brioza opened State Bird Provisions together in 2011, with a format-busting dim sum component. Riding the wave of success, the duo opened The Progress next door to State Bird in 2015. Along with Brioza, Krasinski won the James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Chef: West" in 2015.