Famous Local Guide

Tanya Baker

Culinary Hotshot

While attending high school in Chicago Heights, Tanya Baker entered and won an Iron Chef-style competition, which awarded her a scholarship to the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Later, at just 26 years old, she became the executive chef of The Boarding House, and one year later was named a finalist in the rising star category at the James Beard Awards. Needless to say, Chef Baker tends to keep busy, so we asked her about what she likes to do in her free time.


What's the event you go to every year and why?

Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet

"Chicago Gourmet. I love this time of year in Chicago and this event is full of great food and drinks in the heart of the city."

Magnificent Mile

Who would you love to cook for?

"Anthony Bourdain or Action Bronson."

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

"I really enjoy working with what the season brings. I also love learning about classic cuisine from other cultures, and how it has progressed over the years."


A hidden gem of Chicago is:

Seven Treasures Cantonese Cuisine

"Seven Treasures Cantonese in Chinatown."


What's something you haven't done in Chicago that's on your list to do?

"I've never been to a Blackhawks game, and that has always been on my list."

How do you get your caffeine fix?

"Ha, I make basic Folgers or Café Bustelo coffee at home!"