Nationally-lauded pastry chef Lena Sareini has left her position at Selden Standard in Cass Corridor. Sareini, who worked at the restaurant for five years, completed her final shift on Sunday.
Sareini, along with all of the staff at Selden Standard, was laid off in March during the three-month dine-in shutdown in Michigan. Sareini returned to work when the restaurant reopened for service with novel coronavirus precautions on June 18.
Reached by Eater, Sareini writes in an email that circumstances of the pandemic had made her work more stressful and less fulfilling. “It’s been rough since we reopened after quarantine,” she says. “We had to let my assistant go, so I was running the entire bread and pastry program completely by myself. I was burnt out and found myself no longer happy or creatively stimulated.” Sareini says she decided to submit her resignation in order to give herself a “mental health break” and focus on developing a plan for her own future project.
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Today was my very last day as Pastry Chef of Selden Standard. Five years came and went in the blink of an eye. An end of an era. Life after quarantine has been rough on us all and I am giving myself a much deserved mental break to figure out what Lena Sareini wants to do next with her life. As the saying goes- when one door closes another one opens. Here’s to the next adventure ahead, whatever it may be!
Sareini was part of the 2018 Eater Young Guns class recognizing up and coming talent in the hospitality industry and even made an appearance with her family in the Eater-produced PBS series No Passport Required. Sareini was named a semifinalist two years running for the James Beard’s Rising Star Chef of the Year award and was named to Food & Wine’s list of Best New Chefs 2020.
Sareini says she has no firm plans for now but wants to give herself “the time to really focus on what I want to be doing with my career.” She is in the process of scheduling several upcoming pop-up dinners and hopes to travel again once COVID-19 is more under control.
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