Executive Pastry Chef & Partner
Leigh Omilinsky considers Italy her first love. Growing up in Chicago’s north suburbs, her childhood dream of becoming a jazz piano player quickly changed after a pivotal crème brulee experience at San Francisco’s Top of the Mark restaurant. Stunned by its simplicity and delivery of flavor, at the ripe age 10 years old she stumbled upon her passion and pastry philosophy.
Hooked, Omilinsky spent her teenage years working at bakeries and watching Julia Child and Jacques Pepin on television. After receiving degrees in Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University, Omilinsky began as a pastry cook at the JW Marriott in Denver. In 2006, she ventured back to Chicago where she worked for James Beard award winning chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand; first at Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood as the lead pastry cook and then at TRU restaurant as pastry tournant. Enamored with the fine dining environment, Omilinsky began working at L2O restaurant in 2009, where she worked as chef de partie under celebrated chef Laurent Gras and was part of the team when Gras received 3 Michelin stars. In 2010, Leigh Omilinsky joined Sofitel Chicago Water Tower as assistant pastry chef. Promoted to Executive Pastry Chef in 2012, she oversaw the hotel’s pastry program including private dining, amenities, and the plated desserts at Café des Architectes and Le Bar. In 2013, Omilinsky was included on Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list and received the Jean Banchet award for “Rising Pastry
Chef and in 2014 received Jean Banchet’s “Best Pastry Chef.” To further her skills, Omilinksy spent a formative month staging at the world-renowned Pierre Hermé in Paris. After five years working with French pastry, Omilinsky jumped at the opportunity to venture further south and explore all that Italian cuisine has to offer. As Nico Osteria’s pastry chef, Omilinsky continued her pursuit of mastering the balance between simplicity and depth of flavor all while honing her management style putting an emphasis on team education.
Chef Leigh was included on FSR Magazine’s 40 under 40. That same year, she also found herself on Food Network’s Best Baker in America, Season 2. In January 2019, she started with Boka Restaurant Group as the pastry chef of three concepts –Bellemore, Swift & Sons and Cold Storage, showing the diversity of her dessert styles. She received another Jean Banchet nomination for “Pastry Chef of the Year”.