Take everything that connotes Midwestern charm—effusive goodwill, love of community, and a killer work ethic—and you will find its embodiment in Chef Chris Pandel. His food is just as appealing: rooted in classic French technique and predominantly local Midwestern ingredients, Pandel's cooking is rustic, yet refined.
In 2008, Pandel opened neighborhood eatery, The Bristol. Located in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, Pandel's menu features handmade pastas and charcuterie; farm-fresh, locally sourced produce; and a nose-to-tail approach to cooking.
Balena, an ode to Italian influenced simplicity, opened in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood in March of 2012. Balena's menu consists of handmade pastas; pizzas from a wood-fire oven; and locally sourced, farm-fresh meats and produce. Balena was included in Bon Appetit's list of 25 best new restaurants in 2012, and was nominated for a James Beard "Best New Restaurant" Award.
Beginning in October 2015, you can find Pandel in the kitchen at Swift & Sons. The Swift & Sons menu displays Pandel's signature focus on high quality, locally sourced ingredients and refined cooking techniques with an elevated twist on steakhouse classics, a "boutique beef" program, thoughtful vegetarian dishes, and seasonal sides.
At a young age, Lauren was exposed to international cuisine, as she was born in Finland and grew up in various parts of Europe. Lauren received her Bachelor’s Degree in French and English from The College of William & Mary and worked as a managing editor for a magazine in New York. Lauren had long been inspired by pastry as an edible art form and eventually she decided to pursue her dream and attend pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Lauren began her culinary career working at Range and Le Diplomate in Washington DC. She then moved to Chicago where she worked at Homestead on the Roof before joining Swift & Sons and Cold Storage as the Pastry Sous Chef in September 2015. Lauren loves the challenge of creating casual desserts for Cold Storage as well as more refined plated desserts for Swift & Sons and became Executive Pastry Chef of both restaurants in 2017.
Lauren enjoys the challenge of creating familiar steakhouse desserts with a little element of surprise, new interpretations of old favorites.