Kristen Burman is out to prove that you can, indeed, have tasty, creative food in a business park in the suburbs. In fact, as city centers shut down during the pandemic, the outskirts blossomed with new spots, like Oaken Bistro & Bar, where Burman is chef, which opened in April in the new Forester Hotel in the Conway Business Park in Lake Forest, Ill.
Business is good, and locals and hotel guests alike are chowing down on chicken-fried cauliflower, duck “tacos” for which the tortilla is replaced by scallion pancakes, and barramundi crudo, as well as burgers and chicken, of course.
Burman was an athlete growing up and went to college on a partial scholarship, but while she was changing into her uniform she’d watch food TV, and cooking seemed like fun. She ended up in culinary school, one thing led to another and she has spent the past several years heading up kitchens in restaurants and catering companies.
In this podcast, Burman discusses her management style, her approach to menu development and her strategies for retaining staff.
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