June 11, 2020

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Lisa Donovan

Lisa Donovan started selling breads and cakes out of her third floor walk-up with two babies under her feet and a pile of Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan books on her counter top.

As a server at the famed Margot Café and Bar in Nashville, Lisa received a deep education on food and wine and connected with Anne Kostroski and Tandy Wilson who were on their way to building City House. Lisa opened City House as assistant pastry chef under Anne and, within six months, was head pastry chef and developed a signature style of technique driven traditional American baking.

Lisa also simultaneously started the effervescent and well received Buttermilk Road Sunday Supper series in Nashville around 2009 where she fed small groups of Nashvillians around an intimate table with a full menu, usually served family style and - in the spirit of all good family dinners - plenty of opened bottles of wine to pass around.

Eventually, in 2012, when Sean Brock set his sights on Nashville for Husk, he called Lisa to ask her to be his pastry chef. She went on to celebrate and define the technical importance and history of southern pastry within the food industry at large. Lisa carved out a place in contemporary menus for layer cakes and pies as Sean’s pastry chef. Things that had been once relegated to bakeries or cafes became showpieces in fine dining. Lisa oversaw the pastry production at Husk Nashville and Charleston and also began writing for publications such as Food & Wine, Washington Post, Saveur, Southern Living, Local Palette and more.

In 2018 Lisa won a James Beard Award in Personal Essay and, eventually, a book deal with Penguin Press. It will be her first book, a memoir to be titled Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger published in August, 2020.

Lisa now spends all of her time writing, baking, and consulting. She lives in Nashville with her sculptor/potter husband John Donovan, her two kids Joseph and Maggie Donovan, their three cats, Baby, Puddin and Boss, and their dog Ted.