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Nationally Recognized Pastry Chef Lena Sareini Steps Back From the Kitchen at Selden Standard

The James Beard Award-nominated chef says that the stress of working in a restaurant during the pandemic was overwhelming

Lena Sareini smiles and looks off to the left in front of a black and white mural at Selden Standard. She’s wearing a black headscarf, a whit button up shirt with succulents printed on it, and a dark blue jean apron.
Lena Sareini was part of the 2018 Eater Young Guns class.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

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.

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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Selden Standard

3921 2nd Avenue, , MI 48201 (313) 438-5055 Visit Website

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