chef-name: Cindy Schuman

Cindy Schuman never imagined a life in the culinary arts. While growing up, she often baked at her suburban Chicago home, but never considered her favorite hobby as a potential career path. With an affinity for art, Cindy was accepted into the Fine & Applied Arts program at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; she graduated in 1992 with a BFA in Graphic Design and began her professional career at a Chicago advertising agency.

After bringing an impressive selection of desserts to a party one evening, her friends and family encouraged her to pursue a career in pastry, and she was further inspired by her friend and James Beard Award-winning Chef, Debbie Gold of The American Restaurant in Kansas City. Chef Gold connected Cindy with Chef Don Yamauchi at the famed Carlos’ Restaurant in Highland Park, Ill., where she was hired as a pastry assistant. From there, her culinary career was born. Without any formal culinary training, Cindy quickly learned on the job and moved up the ranks from pastry cook to pastry chef of the four-star kitchen at Carlos’.

With a desire to expand her knowledge, Cindy eventually left Carlos’ to work under an exceptional pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago and has since continued her career at some of the city’s most venerable restaurants. When her friend Eric Aubriot opened his namesake restaurant in Lincoln Park in 1998, he invited her to join his team as pastry chef. She spent more than three years at Aubriot and then moved on to lead the pastry kitchen at Kevin restaurant in the River North neighborhood. After Kevin closed in 2008, Cindy found a home in the West Loop at Michelin-starred Sepia, where she echoes Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s rustic, yet contemporary approach to preparation and presentation.
Cindy has previously been honored by Chicago magazine for having the best soufflé in the city, has placed in numerous pastry competitions, and was named Celebrity Pastry Chef of the Year at the Jean Banchet Awards in 2010.

She resides with her husband, also a chef, in Hanover Park.