Chef Lana Lagomarsini teaches us how to eat like Edna Lewis

In her vibrant Edna Lewis-inspired menu for our A NIGHT IN series, Chef Lana blazes her own culinary path while honoring those who came before her.

Working in restaurants was always a profession that Chef Lana gravitated towards. 

Throughout high school and college, her love for cooking and food grew exponentially, until she could no longer ignore the signs. After graduating from Northeastern University & CIA, Chef Lana worked in kitchens, including Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern, Daniel, and Momofuku Ko.  

In 2021,  Chef Lana launched her own private chef business, Lana Cooks, where she continues to hone her cooking style & explore her roots through food.

Headshot of Chef Lana Lagomarsini

An Ode to Edna Lewis

For her A NIGHT IN installation, Chef Lana delighted us with “A Springtime Tribute to Edna,” a 3-course ode to culinary icon, Edna Lewis. Her menu reimagined some of Edna’s favorite dishes, presenting her interpretation of what she thought Edna would eat on a warm, spring night with family and friends. 

“I love the kind of person [Edna] was - how she presented herself and how she thought about food. I admire her philosophies on food and dining, her tenacity, and her overall work ethic. She worked all the way into her 80s which not many chefs have done,” Lana says.

The meal began with a classic cobb salad. Chef Lana wanted to include eggs, a humble ingredient that Edna’s cookbook featured abundantly. She incorporated a seasonal spin and kick with springtime veggies and pickled shrimp.

“I wanted to do something that had a preservation method, so I added pickled shrimp which is very popular to eat in the South.,” Lana said.

The second course featured an interpretation of Edna’s classic Brunswick stew.

“I am using one of my favorite proteins, rabbit. Edna liked it too. It's a sustainable protein, so it’s something I wanted to continue to feature on my menus.”

For Chef Lana, choosing one dessert was challenging since Edna Lewis is lauded for her many dessert recipes. Chef Lana ultimately decided to create a white pound cake with a rhubarb compote to honor and celebrate spring.  

“I had some beautiful almond extract that I got from Italy in a region where almonds are the most beautiful and fragrant so I wanted to utilize that in a way where you could smell and taste the florals.”

Diners sipped on a refreshing elderflower spritz, selected because of Chef Lana’s love for the flower.

“I eat a lot with the season and wanted to bring floral notes to this light and filling dinner. It ties it together! No dish is too heavy or too aggressive, so this elderflower spritz pairs well with all that”.

Spreading warmth through food

Chef Lana’s intention behind this menu is warmth & love.

“I want people to feel like they are surrounded by family and friends even if they are not. When they are eating my meal, I want them to feel warm inside, like they are getting a hug from me and a wink from Edna. I want people to feel happy when they eat this meal and like they are being taken care of, and enjoying the bounty of spring.”

Catch Chef Lana Lagomarsini on Netflix’s Pressure Cooker.

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