Lena Sareini, Pastry Chef, Selden Standard
WHEN YOU SPEND A DAY IN METRO DETROIT WITH OUT-OF-TOWNERS, WHERE DO YOU TAKE THEM AND WHY?
“Selden Standard. It’s my favorite restaurant in the city because we take our craft seriously. We’re a from-scratch kitchen and have tight-knit relationships with Michigan farmers who offer us their best produce. We handmake everything, from our bread and butter and ice creams to our pasta and syrups for our outstanding bar program.
The first time I dined at San Morello, I told my friends it would be the perfect spot to take an out-of-towner. The space is gorgeous, and the food is impressive. Dine here on your birthday, and they bring you dessert with sparklers and snap a Polaroid photo you get to take home.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is my and my fiancé’s favorite date-night spot. This swanky art deco lounge offers great vibes, soul food and live jazz. A perfect place for a low-key evening.
MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) is updated often, so you can come back again and again and experience new art. There’s also a lovely cafe inside called Café 78 that has coffee, pastries, lunch and a full bar.
The Dequindre Cut is an art-filled, two-mile-long path that starts near Eastern Market (easternmarket.org) and ends up at the riverfront. Find a MoGo bike station (mogodetroit.org), hop on The Cut and cruise.”
Rising Star for Real
Anyone with culinary chops knows that the James Beard Awards are considered among the highest culinary honors. It’s kinda like the Academy Awards of cooking. Thousands of entries for nominations come in each year for a bunch of different categories. Nominations, in fact, seem to be noteworthy public announcements, let alone the praise poured upon a chef who nabs a category win.
Under 30 and in the industry for less than a decade, Selden Standard’s pastry chef Lena Sareini already has two James Beard nominations on her resume. She’s been a semifinalist for Rising Star chef in 2018 and 2019. The category spotlights chefs 30 or younger who display exceptional talent, character and leadership ability. It seems Sareini’s unique spin on traditional Lebanese desserts, what some are calling edible art, and her desire to connect customers with her Arab American heritage make her a clear culinary contender who’s reaching far beyond Detroit’s borders.