A Seattle native, Dana Cree began her culinary journey in 2000, studying at The Art Institute of Seattle. Cree first worked in the savory side of the kitchen for three years at Seattle’s Lampreia, before heeding her pastry calling. After a lengthy stage at The Fat Duck, in Bray, England in early 2005, Cree returned to Seattle and assumed the role of
Pastry Chef at Eva. There, she honed her flavor-focused and detail oriented style. Cree spent several highly influential weeks staging with Alex Stupak at WD-50, in New York. Upon returning to Seattle, she took the helm at Veil. It was there that she explored modernist techniques in a fine dining setting, putting to use lessons learned at WD-50 and The Fat Duck.
When Veil closed in 2008, Cree joined the opening team at Poppy. There she continued to refine and focus her concepts, crafting exciting, accessible plates fit for the high-volume setting. Her work at Poppy earned her recognition from StarChefs, which presented her with a Rising Star Award in 2009.
Cree left Seattle in 2010, and after a stage at Noma, in Copenhagen, she returned to the States to work at Alinea in Chicago. There she learned to push the boundaries of possibility. Later that year Cree found herself back in Denmark as Pastry Chef at Kadeau restaurant, on the island of Bornholm. There she immersed herself in Baltic products and a New Nordic minimalist style.
When Kadeau closed for the harsh Scandinavian winter, Cree returned to the States, positioning herself under the tutelage of Sherry Yard at Spago Beverly Hills. There she revisited classic techniques and learned to foster strong relationships with area farmers. Cree returned to Chicago in 2012 to become Pastry Chef at Blackbird and avec. Nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2014 and 2015, her thoughtful and resoundingly delicious desserts perfectly culminated the divergent dining experiences of both restaurants.
After briefly leaving One Off Hospitality to work on her forthcoming book, Hello My Name is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop (Clarkson Potter, published March 2017), Cree returned in 2016 as Executive Pastry Chef of The Publican, Publican Quality Meats, Publican Tavern, and Publican Anker. The new dessert items on these menus harken back to classic, universal dishes with a whimsical flair and are rooted in her experiences in England and Denmark.