Chef Lana Lagomarsini, a private chef, journalist, and artist, shares her journey of rediscovery through culinary artistry.
Photo Cred: Chef Lana Lagomarsini
Chef Lana Lagomarsini finds inspiration for food through fashion and the art world but draws from culinary artists before her. Her experiences growing up in New York City exposed her to the consistent ever-becoming amalgam of food and culture.
Growing up with Puerto Rican, Black, German, and Italian backgrounds, Chef Lana recalled memories of her culinarily diverse childhood. From the flavors of her grandmother’s stroganoff recipe to the versatility of her family’s use of plantains, she takes inventiveness from her backgrounds to apply to her menus.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Lana found a home in NYC kitchens like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern, Daniel, and Momofuku Ko. Gaining extensive experience in these fine dining restaurants, she wanted to culminate her career with more creative pursuits. Combining the French fine-dining fundamentals with dishes from her heart, Chef Lana felt motivated to mesh culinary inventiveness with her experience growing up Black in America.
In order to find her voice, she turned towards her first passion – journalism. She began a deep dive into her familial pathways rooted back to Alabama. She gleaned memories from the Great Migration, reconnecting with Southern food practices along the way. After years of applying fine dining techniques to French cuisine, she found herself back with her grandmother’s soul food.
Following the pandemic, Chef Lana opened a private catering company that produced foods from her roots in Alabama. Fusing these dishes with her mixed heritage, Chef Lana presents her artistry by creating fusions on each plate, such as in her Edna Lewis-inspired menu for our A NIGHT IN pop-up series. In developing dishes, she experiments with various techniques, memories, ingredients, and styles.
She finds inspiration in listening to how the flavors talk with one another – allowing herself to mix her heritages in new ways. In developing her Carolina Gold rice grit arancini with pimento cheese, she combined Southern pathways with her Italian roots. As an expert in handling each ingredient, she practices using different flavors to develop her palette as a chef further.
Chef Lana creates intentional dining experiences which allow guests to interact with her ancestral routes. In developing new recipes, she pulls from her desire to create and work closely with the ingredients and techniques of her past. Chef Lana hopes her menus spark deep conversations about the Black experience in America while showcasing her identity on each plate.
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